As a resident of the Flagstaff, Arizona region, you probably spend a lot of time in your car. The wide open spaces of the Flagstaff area makes a personal vehicle all but a necessity, and getting around without one can be difficult if not impossible.
When something goes wrong with your car, pickup truck or SUV, you need it fixed, and you need it fixed fast. Unfortunately, the cost of those car repairs can really add up, so wouldn’t it be nice if you could deduct those costs when you fill out your income tax return?
Business vs. Personal Use
So can you really deduct the cost of the car repairs you need, or will the IRS calling if you try? That depends on how you use your vehicle, and it is important to know the rules.
If you use your vehicle for personal use and drive occasionally for the boss, you are probably out of luck. Under IRS rules, your vehicle would probably be classified as personal transportation, and you would not be able to deduct the cost of repairs from your income tax return.
If you own a business and use a vehicle to conduct that business, you may be able to deduct some of the repair costs from your business income. There are very specific rules in place, and it is a good idea to consult a CPA or tax expert before claiming this type of deduction.
The Standard Mileage Deduction
If you own a personal vehicle and have a traditional job, you may be able to take a deduction if you need to drive for work. If, for instance, your boss asks you to drive to another location, you may be able to deduct that mileage from your income tax return.
In most cases, however, you will not be able to deduct things like car repairs, insurance or even the cost of gas. Instead, the IRS provides a standard mileage deduction based on the number of miles you drive for the boss. If you take this standard mileage deduction, you will not be able to write off the cost of gas, insurance or car repairs.
Are You a Member of the New Sharing Economy?
Many Flagstaff area residents are making extra money as part of the sharing economy, and a growing number are driving for services like Lyft and Uber. If you moonlight as an Uber or Lyft driver, you may be able to deduct the cost of operating your vehicle, including the price of car repairs.
The amount of the deduction will depend on a number of factors, including how many miles you drive for Lyft and Uber versus the number of miles you drive for personal reasons. If you want to take this deduction, you will need to keep careful records, and you should consult a CPA or tax expert before you complete your return. It is important to get the deductions to which you are entitled, but you do not want to suffer the wrath of the IRS.