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Can I Write Off My Car As a Business Expense?

by Greg Maravilla, MBA, CPA, CFP® | June 17, 2022

When deducting a car, regardless of leased or owned, we (your CPA) will ask you to tell us what percentage of the vehicle was business use and what percentage was for personal use. Only the business portion is deductible, which is almost never 100%.  You should keep a log of dates, mileage, departure and arrival locations in case of audit.

All-at-once (“Section 179”) depreciation is permissible if the curb weight of the vehicle is more than 6,000 pounds and the vehicle is used more than 50% for business, but the deduction is pro-rated for business vs personal. The purpose of a given trip would determine if it’s a legitimate business expense. Travel from home office, if you have one, to your dental office would be business travel.

Putting the logo of your business on the side of the vehicle does not make the entire vehicle deductible, but the cost of the logo would be.  Deductibility of the auto itself is based on the purpose of each trip the vehicle takes, e.g., personal or business, and aggregating them at year end.

Below is a table illustrating the items you can deduct based on the financing method of your vehicle.

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