Taxpayer asks:

I read your advice about deductions for business expenses but I don’t use a home office or some of the other things you mentioned. I do, however, use a car for much of my work. Can I deduct that?

Taxgirl says:

If you use your car exclusively in your business, you can deduct car expenses. You just need to figure out how much.

If you use your car for business and personal use, you must prorate the expenses based on actual mileage. You can deduct car expenses, including depreciation or lease payments, gas and oil, tires, repairs, tune-ups, insurance, and registration fees in proportion to your business use. So, let’s say you drove 50,000 miles this year, 30,000 miles of which were for business. That’s 60% of your total miles for business. So, add up the expenses attributable to your car and 60% of those expenses may be properly deducted on your return.

Alternatively, you may be able to use the standard mileage rate to figure your deduction (for tax year 2007, it’s a whopping 48.5 cents per mile).

Even better, if you are self-employed, you can deduct the business part of the interest on your car loan, state and local personal property tax on the car, parking fees, and tolls, even if you claim the standard mileage rate. For more info on car expenses, check out IRS Publication 463.

Before you go: be sure to read my disclaimer. Remember, I’m a lawyer and we love disclaimers.
If you have a question, here’s how to Ask The Taxgirl.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.

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