Using a Car for Business? Grab These Deductions

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Whether you’re self-employed or an employee, if you use a car for business, you get the benefit of tax deductions.

There are two choices for claiming deductions:

1. Deduct the actual business-related costs of gas, oil, lubrication, repairs, tires, supplies, parking, tolls, drivers’ salaries, and depreciation.

2. Use the standard mileage deduction in 2014 and simply multiply 56 cents by the number of business miles traveled during the year. Your actual parking fees and tolls are deducted separately under this method.

Which Method Is Better?

For some taxpayers, using the standard mileage rate produces a larger deduction. Others fare better tax-wise by deducting actual expenses.

Tip: The actual cost method allows you to claim accelerated depreciation on your car, subject to limits and restrictions not discussed here.

The standard mileage amount includes an allowance for depreciation. Opting for the standard mileage method allows you to bypass certain limits and restrictions and is simpler– but it’s often less advantageous in dollar terms.

Caution: The standard rate may understate your costs, especially if you use the car 100 percent for business, or close to that percentage.

Generally, the standard mileage method benefits taxpayers who have less expensive cars or who travel a large number of business miles.

How to Make Tax Time Easier

Keep careful records of your travel expenses and record your mileage in a logbook. If you don’t know the number of miles driven and the total amount you spent on the car, we won’t be able to determine which of the two options is more advantageous for you.

Furthermore, the tax law requires that you keep travel expense records and that you give information on your return showing business versus personal use. If you use the actual cost method for your auto deductions, you must keep receipts.

Tip: Consider using a separate credit card for business, to simplify your recordkeeping.

Tip: You can also deduct the interest you pay to finance a business-use car if you’re self-employed.

Note: Self-employed individuals and employees who use their cars for business can deduct auto expenses if they either (1) don’t get reimbursed, or (2) are reimbursed under an employer’s “non-accountable” reimbursement plan. In the case of employees, expenses are deductible to the extent that auto expenses (together with other “miscellaneous itemized deductions”) exceed 2 percent of adjusted gross income.

Connect with me today and find out which deduction method is best for your business-use car. You’ll be glad you did.

Dan has been preparing tax return for US Taxpayers and Expatriates since 1998 beginning with US military and Embassy mission personnel in Bangkok, Thailand. He has always loved math and took business accounting at City U. in Seattle Washington. Dan worked at Clint Gordon & Associates (Accredited Tax Consultant) were he gained his foundational knoledge of the US taxing system.

Dan has been studying tax preparation and tax law ever since increasing his skill and knowledge of the tax preparation business accordingly, Dan is known in many circles around the globe as an Expatriate Tax Expert. His book entitled “The Complete US Expat Tax Book” has recently been published and is available on Kindle, Amazon and booksellers around the world.

Thru the years, Dan has fought many battles with the Internal Revenue Service as well as various state taxing departments with great success in helping lower and or eliminate his clients tax debts.

Dan Gordon and his staff enjoy the work they do from the simplest 1040EZ to the most complex corporations, with the goal that no client should pay more tax than legally required.

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