The Tax Implications of a Company Car

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

Any bookkeeping, business or tax article contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor can it be used to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.

The use of a company vehicle is a valuable fringe benefit for owners and employees of small businesses. This benefit results in tax deductions for the employer as well as tax breaks for the owners and employees using the cars. (And of course, they get the nontax benefits of driving the cars!) Even better, recent tax law changes and IRS rules make the perk more valuable than before.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re the owner-employee of a corporation that’s going to provide you with a company car. You need the car to visit customers, meet with vendors and check on suppliers. You expect to drive the car 8,500 miles a year for business. You also expect to use the car for about 7,000 miles of personal driving, including commuting, running errands and weekend trips with your family. Therefore, your usage of the vehicle will be approximately 55% for business and 45% for personal purposes. You want a nice car to reflect positively on your business, so the corporation buys a new luxury $50,000 sedan.

Your cost for the personal use of the vehicle will be equal to the tax you pay on the fringe benefit value of your 45% personal mileage. By contrast, if you bought the car yourself to be able to drive the personal miles, you’d be out-of-pocket for the entire purchase cost of the car.

Your personal use will be treated as fringe benefit income. For tax purposes, your corporation will treat the car much the same way it would any other business asset, subject to depreciation deduction restrictions if the auto is purchased. Out-of-pocket expenses related to the car (including insurance, gas, oil, and maintenance) are deductible, including the portion that relates to your personal use. If the corporation finances the car, the interest it pays on the loan would be deductible as a business expense (unless the business is subject to business-interest limitation under the tax code).

In contrast, if you bought the auto yourself, you wouldn’t be entitled to any deductions. Your outlays for the business-related portion of your driving would be unreimbursed employee business expenses that are nondeductible from 2018 to 2025 due to the suspension of miscellaneous itemized deductions under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. And if you financed the car yourself, the interest payments would be nondeductible.

And finally, the purchase of the car by your corporation will have no effect on your credit rating.

Administrative Tasks

Providing an auto for an owner’s or key employee’s business and personal use comes with complications and paperwork. Personal use will have to be tracked and valued under the fringe benefit tax rules and treated as income. This article only explains the basics.

Despite the necessary valuation and paperwork, a company-provided car is still a valuable fringe benefit for business owners and key employees. It can provide them with the use of a vehicle at a low tax cost while generating tax deductions for their businesses. We can help you stay in compliance with the rules and explain more about this prized perk.

Share this post NOw

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

Small Business Financial Services

We help you cut through the clutter and noise and help you focus on a clear path to success. We help you succeed with a reliable bookkeeping, payroll support and income tax reporting.
Learn more

Individual Income Tax Services and IRS Response Assistance

Stressed during tax season? Surprised with a huge tax bill? Receiving an IRS letter? FAS can help make your year-end tax compliance less stressful with professional tax services.
Learn more

US and Canada Cross Border Tax Services

Our experienced staff, combined with our US and Canada locations, allows us to provide the tax support you need, wherever you are, at home or abroad.
Learn more

Running a small business is an extremely challenging task. However with a team like FAS, I do not have to worry about our bookkeeping and tax services.

They are truly great team!
Garage Guys Automotive

Very responsive! FAS bookkeeping service has been an integral part of my consulting business.

I highly recommend FAS to business owners who are looking for a reliable business partner to handle their bookkeeping needs.

Bruce Saxton

I have known Christy for about 5 years. She has assisted several of my clients and me personally.

If you are a business owner, Christy makes an outstanding strategic partner. I highly recommend her.

Gerry Brisson

I started looking for a new bookkeeping and tax service firm as my company was no longer getting the service that we deserve from a bookkeeping firm.

I highly recommend FAS to business owners who are looking for a reliable and professional bookkeeping and tax preparation service firm.

Mark Sargent

 Because of the nature of my business and report requirements from corporate that are time-sensitive.

I can count on Cristy and her team’s eye for detail and reliability to deliver accurate and timely financial information.

Terri Foster

We've been with FAS for years and they are one of the most professional and honest people we've worked with.

I highly recommend Cristy, Dennis and FAS Bookkeeping & Tax Services Firm.

Katie To

Being a small business owner means we’re always constrained by time and resource.

I highly recommend FAS for your bookkeeping and tax preparation needs.

Roy Andrade
FAS, with Cristy & Dennis, has been an important part of our progress as a company and I will not hesitate recommending them to business owners who are looking for a serious business partner for such a sensitive financial matter.
Jorge Vasquez
I have referred Cristy to many of our clients and have always been impressed by her professionalism and dedication to her customers.

If you own a small business and operate in the Houston or Katy area you will benefit from working with Cristy on your financials
Roland Parker
Christy is an awesome bookkeeper and adviser. I highly recommend her for personal tax and business tax.

Not only she help with our taxes, she even organize our entire book keeping for very reasonable price.
Kayla Cory
FAS is the best bookkeeping services I have encountered in my 39 years of self employment. They are hard working, ethical and honest in every aspect of their professional lives.

Both Dennis and Cristy have gone way beyond their normal duties to provide services at the highest level.
Marv Conway