by Gregory J. Cook, EA, CPA
Accredited Tax Advisor
Unless it is a desperate, last minute temporary fix to defer or delay taxes. For example, it's December and you know you will owe $20,000 in federal taxes and don't have the funds. You may be able to buy a $60,000 truck with zero down financing and get a tax refund of $4,000 instead.
However, if you need the truck, suv or van and it will assist you in the production of income, lower your operating costs, make your life easier or make you happy, then go ahead and buy. Some people prefer to drive a truck, suv or van over a passenger vehicle but usually these vehicles are meeting a need to haul bulky stuff.
Generally if you put 15,000 miles or more on a passenger vehicle that has reasonably low operating costs, you will be better off using the mileage rate. If you drive a more expensive vehicle and put fewer than 15,000 miles per year on it, you will be better off using actual expenses.
Depreciation deductions for most cars and trucks are limited by the "luxury car/passenger vehicle" limitations imposed by the IRS under Code Section 280(f).