Double Depreciating Vehicles?
Subject: Question about Section 179 Deduction
I was reading your website and had a question about section 179.
In 2007 I purchased an Expedition EL >6000 lbs. I took the $25,000 deduction, I am being audited and am being told that I can not take the milage deduction and the 179 deduction. I thought the 179 was a depreciation event and had nothing to do with deducting milage. Can you elaborate??
Thanks in advance
I constantly warn people about the dangers of trying to prepare their own tax returns because it is all too easy to make simple mistakes such as the one you did.
With business vehicles, you generally have the option of claiming the IRS's standard per mile deduction or the prorated actual expenses based on business miles to total miles for the year.
The standard mileage rate includes a factor for straight line depreciation. This was 19 cents per mile for 2007.
The Section 179 expensing election is basically a kind of very accelerated depreciation. If you claim it, you are required to use the actual expense method for that vehicle and you are not allowed to use the standard mileage rate ever for that particular vehicle because that would result in double deducting the same depreciation.
There is no nice way to say this; but you screwed things up big time by trying to deduct both Section 179 and the standard mileage rate on the same vehicle. Any professional tax preparer with even limited experience would know better than to do that.
With that kind of basic error in your tax return, there's no telling what others you have as well, including many that probably cost you money. Before you go any further with the IRS auditor, you should hire a professional tax advisor to review your 2007 1040 and see if s/he can find some tax saving deductions that will offset the extra taxes that you are going to have to pay as a result of double deducting vehicle depreciation.
If you already prepared your own 2008 1040, you will also need to have a professional tax advisor fix the mistakes that it has.
I'm sorry to be the bearer of such bad news and I hope this helps you salvage some tax savings.
Thanks for the quick response. The situation is not quite so bad, we found almost $20k in deductions missed.
Thanks again for your help