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:
- Deduct the actual business-related costs of gas, oil, lubrication, repairs, tires, supplies, parking, tolls, drivers' salaries, and depreciation.
- Use the standard mileage deduction in 2013 and simply multiply 56.5 cents by the number of business miles traveled during the year. Your actual parking fees and tolls are deducted separately under this method. (In 2012 the standard rate for business miles driven was 55.5 cents.)
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% 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.
Barry Eisenberg, SCORE Counselor, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit us at www.scoresouthflorida.net