Under the new Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS), you depreciate most business-use personal property (equipment, for example) over a seven-year period.

But suppose you buy a heavy truck for $20,000. Your best estimate is that the trust will last for about 200,000 miles, which in your business means for about three years. Can you beat the seven-year depreciation?

Yes. You can elect out of MACRS and depreciate the truct at the rate of 10? a mile (the $20,000 cost divided by the 200,000 estimated miles). For example, if the truck is driven for 80,000 miles in the first year, the depreciation for that year would be $8,000. Under MACRS, cars and light trucks can be written off over five years instead of seven, but as an alternative, you can use the mileage method of depreciation for these vehicles as well.