If you need a new car for business, now is a great time to buy one. New models are out, very attractive dealer-financing is available, and new tax write-offs can make a deal even sweeter.
The purchase price of the cars can be depreciated over the five-year recovery fixed by law. But cars weighing no more than 6,000 pounds are subject to dollar limits on annual deductions for depreciation. But increased bonus depreciation of 50% created by the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 means that the dollar limit on a car purchased today and used exclusively for business is $10,710. (If the car is used partly for business, the dollar limit must be allocated, so that a car used only 80% for business has a first-year limit of $8,568 [$10,710 x 80%]).
Light trucks and vans, which the tax law defines as vehicles that would not be purchased but for their business use, have a slightly higher first-year dollar limit: currently $11,010.
Cars, trucks, and vans weighing more than 6,000 pounds have no dollar limits on write-offs. In fact, their cost can be fully expensed in the year of purchase up to $100,000. Ask your car dealer whether a vehicle you are considering is heavy enough to be free of dollar limits (more than two dozen SUVs are now in this category). Note: There is currently a measure in Congress that would limit expensing for vehicles to $25,000.