Many businesses need to invest in heavy sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to transport equipment and provide timely services. Fortunately, they may be able to claim valuable tax deductions for the purchases. If you’re thinking about buying one (or if your bought one in 2021), be sure to brush up on the tax rules.
Under current law, first-year bonus depreciation is available for qualified new and used property that’s acquired and placed in service during the tax year. New and pre-owned heavy SUVs, pickups and vans acquired and put to business use in 2021 or 2022 are potentially eligible for 100% first-year bonus depreciation.
Be aware that this generous tax break is scheduled to begin to be reduced for vehicles that are acquired and placed in service after December 31, 2022. That’s added incentive to invest in a heavy SUV this year.
The 100% first-year bonus depreciation write-off will reduce your federal income tax bill and self-employment tax bill, if applicable. You might get a state income tax deduction, too.
Weight and Use Requirements
100% bonus depreciation is available only if the manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is above 6,000 pounds. You can verify a vehicle’s GVWR by looking at the manufacturer’s label, usually found on the inside edge of the driver’s side door where the door hinges meet the frame.
Another requirement is that you must use the vehicle more than 50% for business. If your business use is between 51% and 99%, you can deduct that percentage of the cost in the first year the vehicle is placed in service.
Detailed, contemporaneous expense records are essential in case the IRS challenges your business-use percentage. So, keep track of the miles you’re driving for business purposes, compared to the vehicle’s total mileage for the year. Record keeping is easier today because of the many mobile apps designed for this purpose.
You could also simply keep a handwritten calendar or mileage log in your vehicle and record details as business trips occur. Maintaining contemporaneous records is critical; calendars or logs compiled after the fact may not withstand IRS scrutiny.
The Right Moves
Did you purchase an eligible vehicle and place it in service in 2021? Or are you considering doing so in 2022? Consult with us to help evaluate the right business tax moves.