tax break skids to a halt
I have recently learned that my new-to-me 2003
Kia Sedona LX has a gross vehicle weight requirement (GVWR) of 5,985
pounds, just under the 6,000 GVWR for a Section 179 deduction. I'm
only 15 pounds short. Any suggestions as to how to qualify or am
I a day late and 15 pounds short? -- Larry
Some folks may be a day late under the new tax law. You're just
15 pounds short.
For many years now, a passenger automobile with an
unloaded gross vehicle weight rating of 6,000 pounds or less has
been subject to depreciation limitations, including the amount that
could be expensed under Section
179. The intent is that the government should be not subsidizing
through tax write-offs the luxury portion of a businessman's automobile
In other words, the boss that has a Mercedes should
get the same deduction as the guy who has a Honda. When these rules
were passed in 1984, an exception was made for trucks with loaded-gross-vehicle
ratings of more than 6,000 pounds, because they were considered
work trucks. An SUV is considered to be a truck and since 1984,
SUVs have grown considerably in size.
If the price of gas and your conscience are not enough
to dissuade you from purchasing these urban tanks, the loophole
relating to SUVs has changed. You would think that Congress would
have just made them subject to the same rules as other automobiles,
but no; instead, they continued to provide an incentive for business
owners to purchase oversized trucks. Revenue Procedure 2004-20 provides
that a new passenger vehicle in 2004 will get a maximum depreciation
deduction including Section 179 and bonus depreciation of $10,610
and a 6,000-pound-or-less truck will get $10,910.
If you bought a more-than-6,000-pound SUV prior to
Oct. 22 (the date President Bush signed the tax bill into law),
you get the possible $100,000 expensing under Section 179. If you
bought the vehicle on or after Oct. 22 and its gross
vehicle weight requirement is between 6,000 and 14,000 pounds,
you're limited to $25,000 of Section 179 expense, plus bonus depreciation
and regular depreciation.
The tax bill gives an example of a $70,000 heavy SUV,
qualifying for a $52,000 first-year deduction instead of $70,000.
Compare this to an under $11,000 deduction for a $70,000 Mercedes,
and it's no small wonder why we're driving in circles with deficits
and energy prices.
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