Small business owners should plan their vehicle and equipment purchases around two changes to Section 179 of the IRS code. Section 179 allows owners to take the depreciation for capital purchases in the year of the purchase.
First, the amount of the deduction increased from the previous $24,000 to $100,000 for 2003 and $102,000 for 2004. Second, the government also applied this deduction to any vehicle over 6,000 pounds -- which includes sport utility vehicles.
"Car dealers and CPAs are calling this the loophole you can drive an SUV through," says small business tax preparer Howard Scott. The IRS says it only applies to "qualified non-personal use vehicles." Many car dealerships have a list of vehicles over 6,000 pounds to persuade buyers, and many of Scott's clients are taking advantage of this deduction to purchase SUVs. The deduction applies only for 2004 and 2005 purchases, unless the Bush administration decides to continue it.
On top of the capital purchases depreciation, the administration also expanded Section 179 to include off-the-shelf computer software placed in service after 2002.