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The tax side of car expenses

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This story appears in the August 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Are you taking advantage of all the tax benefits available for using a car in your business? With fuel costs going through the roof, now is a good time to review the costs of operating business vehicles and the deductions you receive for their use.

If you use four or fewer vehicles in your business at the same time and are applying the standard mileage rate for these expenses, you may want to consider switching to the "actual car expenses" method that the IRS requires for five or more vehicles used simultaneously. Using the actual expenses method could mean a larger tax deduction, particularly if the vehicles are driven a lot. If you use five or more vehicles at the same time in your business, the IRS requires you to use the actual car expenses method.

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