Car Purchases Made by Year-End Can Generate Tax Benefits, Reminds

Car Purchases Made by Year-End Can Generate Tax Benefits, Reminds


Car Purchases Made by Year-End Can Generate Tax Benefits, Reminds

  • Not every alt-fuel vehicle delivers tax credits
  • Leasing makes sense for many — but not all — business vehicles
  • Most charities appreciate cash more than cars

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — November 20, 2009 — As the end of the year approaches,, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, today reminds consumers that their new car purchases may help reduce their 2009 taxes.

Any new car, light truck, recreational vehicle or motorcycle purchased between February 17 and December 31, 2009 qualifies for a federal tax deduction. Details can be found in the article New Vehicle Tax Deductions for 2009 at

Most people know that the government also offers tax credits for buying certain hybrid, hybrid-electric, clean diesel and other alternative fuel vehicles, but not everyone realizes that the full amount of the credits is only available on the first 60,000 eligible vehicles an automaker sells in each fuel category. Eligible vehicles include the Honda Civic GX, BMW 335d and Mercedes GL 320 BlueTEC. The program has expired for the Honda Insight, Lexus RX 450h and Toyota Prius and other hybrids offered from those brands. A complete summary of all current and expired tax credits for alternative fuel vehicles can be found at

"If you're counting on earning a tax credit for your new car purchase, you have some homework to do before you buy," recommends Senior Consumer Advice Editor Philip Reed. "Three important steps are: Check the status of your automaker to see if their vehicles still qualify, research possible state tax incentives and speak with your accountant about whether you are affected by the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) or have other implications to consider."

Anyone who uses their vehicle for business has special considerations to take into account. For many, leasing is a good idea because it is possible to write off a percentage of the monthly payment that corresponds with the percentage of time the car is used for work. Those who instead choose to purchase a car to be used for work must make much more complicated complications, though on some occasions this is a more financially sound decision. Seek advice from an accountant to make the best decision.

And should you donate your old car to charity? Unless the charity actually uses the car, it may make better sense for all parties to instead sell the car and donate cash. For more details on how to decide between selling or donating your car, see "Does Car Charity Donation Still Make Sense Under Tougher IRS Rules?"

About Edmunds (
Edmunds publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders., the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its most popular feature, the True Market Value®, is relied upon by millions of people seeking current transaction prices for new and used vehicles. was named "Best Car Research Site" by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "Most Useful Web Site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Study(SM), was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites by The Wall Street Journal and was rated "#1" in Keynote's study of third-party automotive Web sites. Inside Line launched in 2005 and is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace launched in 2006 and is an automotive social networking Web site and home to the oldest and most established automotive community. launched in 2007 and provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

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