Many businesses need to invest in heavy sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to transport equipment and provide timely services. Fortunately, they may be able to claim valuable tax deductions for the purchases. If you’re thinking about buying one (or if your bought one in 2021), be sure to brush up on the tax rules.
Under current law, first-year bonus depreciation is available for qualified new and used property that’s acquired and placed in service during the tax year. New and pre-owned heavy SUVs, pickups and vans acquired and put to business use in 2021 or 2022 are potentially eligible for 100% first-year bonus depreciation.
Be aware that this generous tax break is scheduled to begin to be reduced for vehicles that are acquired and placed in service after December 31, 2022. That’s added incentive to invest in a heavy SUV this year.
The 100% first-year bonus depreciation write-off will reduce your federal income tax bill and self-employment tax bill, if applicable. You might get a state income tax deduction, too.
Weight and use requirements
100% bonus depreciation is available only if the manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is above 6,000 pounds. You can verify a vehicle’s GVWR by looking at the manufacturer’s label, usually found on the inside edge of the driver’s side door where the door hinges meet the frame.
Another requirement is that you must use the vehicle more than 50% for business. If your business use is between 51% and 99%, you can deduct that percentage of the cost in the first year the vehicle is placed in service.
Detailed, contemporaneous expense records are essential in case the IRS challenges your business-use percentage. So, keep track of the miles you’re driving for business purposes, compared to the vehicle’s total mileage for the year. Recordkeeping is easier today because of the many mobile apps designed for this purpose.
You could also simply keep a handwritten calendar or mileage log in your vehicle and record details as business trips occur. Maintaining contemporaneous records is critical; calendars or logs compiled after the fact may not withstand IRS scrutiny.
The right moves
Did you purchase an eligible vehicle and place it in service in 2021? Or are you considering doing so in 2022? Consult with us to help evaluate the right business tax moves.
Tracking down donation substantiation
If you’re like many Americans, letters from your favorite charities may be appearing in your mailbox acknowledging your 2021 donations. But what happens if you haven’t received such a letter? Can you still claim a deduction for the gift on your 2021 income tax return? It depends.
To support a charitable deduction, you need to comply with IRS substantiation requirements. This generally includes obtaining a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity stating the amount of the donation if it’s cash. If the donation is property, the acknowledgment must describe the property, but the charity isn’t required to provide a value. The donor must determine the property’s value.
“Contemporaneous” means the earlier of the date you file your tax return or the extended due date of your return. So, if you donated in 2021 but haven’t yet received substantiation from the charity, it’s not too late (as long as you haven’t filed your 2021 return). Contact the charity and request a written acknowledgment.
Keep in mind that, if you made a cash gift of under $250 with a check or credit card, generally a canceled check, bank statement or credit card statement is sufficient. However, if you received something in return for the donation, you generally must reduce your deduction by its value and the charity is required to provide you a written acknowledgment as described earlier.
Deduction for nonitemizers
Generally, taxpayers who don’t itemize their deductions (and instead claim the standard deduction) can’t claim a charitable deduction. But, under the CARES Act, individuals who didn’t itemize deductions could claim a federal income tax write-off for up to $300 of cash contributions to IRS-approved charities for the 2020 tax year.
Fortunately, the Consolidated Appropriations Act extended this tax break to cover $300 of cash contributions made in 2021. The law also doubled the deduction limit to $600 for married, joint-filing couples for cash contributions made in 2021.
Let us assist you
Additional substantiation requirements apply to some types of donations. We can help you determine whether you have sufficient substantiation for the donations you hope to deduct on your 2021 income tax return. We also can guide you on the substantiation you’ll need for gifts you’re planning this year to ensure you can enjoy the desired deductions on your 2022 return.