How to Deduct Car Repairs from Your Taxes

  • Feb 12,2020
Car keys and a stack of coins on a table while a man types on a calculator Car keys and a stack of coins on a table while a man types on a calculator

Tax season is here. For some, that means getting anxious over having to dish out money to the government. For others, tax season brings about a bit of excitement thanks to the possibility of receiving a tax refund! Fortunately, you might be able to cut your tax bill (or boost your refund) by leveraging the right tax write-offs. In some cases, you may even be able to deduct car repairs and maintenance expenses!

Please note that this information is for reference purposes only and should not be considered financial advice or tax advice. Consult a tax professional when determining what you may or may not be able to deduct.

Are Car Repairs Tax Deductible?

Yes! In some instances, car repairs can be deducted from a federal tax return. However, not all taxpayers can take advantage of this write-off. We encourage you to talk with your tax professional to see if repair and maintenance write-offs are an option for you.

Who Can Deduct Car Repairs on Their Taxes?

According to the IRS, if you own a business or are self-employed (a freelance writer or a rideshare driver, for instance), you might qualify to deduct the cost of car repairs on your federal tax return.

Who Cannot Deduct Car Repairs on Their Taxes?

The IRS no longer allows the majority of employees who use their car for work to take a business expense deduction. An employee can’t claim a car-related deduction even if their employer does not reimburse costs tied to the use of their car for work.

Some employees may still deduct unreimbursed travel expenses, though. These include military reservists, certain entertainers, and some state and local government officials.

Which Car Repairs Are Eligible for a Tax Deduction?

TurboTax lists the following car repairs and routine maintenance items as just some of the ones you’re able to deduct on your federal tax return:

  • Oil changes
  • Repairs, such as replacing a broken headlight or fixing faulty brakes
  • Tune-ups
  • New tires
  • New air filters
  • New windshield wipers

How Do I Deduct Car Repairs on My Tax Return?

Tax preparation company H&R Block says you must deduct car repairs and other vehicle expenses using one of these two methods:

  • Actual vehicle expenses: This is the amount you paid for repairs and additional costs associated with driving your car for business purposes.
  • Standard mileage rate: For the 2019 tax year, the IRS-approved rate is 58 cents per mile. If you use the standard mileage rate, you can’t deduct car repairs separately. Part of this rate already accounts for car repairs.

Keep in mind that if you use your car for both business and personal driving, you must divide the expenses based on the number of miles you drove for each purpose.

In other words, if you use the actual-expense method rather than the standard mileage rate, you can only deduct a certain percentage of your car repairs. For example, if you use your car 50% of the time for business, you can deduct 50% of the repair costs. The other half of the repair costs — those linked to personal use of your car — cannot be deducted.

For more information, visit the IRS website.

What Do I Need to Do to Make Sure I Can Deduct Car Repairs?

One of the most important things to ensure your car repairs are deductible is to pay attention to recordkeeping. Throughout the year, keep track of your car’s mileage — noting trips taken for business and personal reasons — and save every repair or maintenance receipt.

Several apps are available for recording mileage, including Everlance, Hurdlr, MileIQ, MileWiz, and TripLog.

If you’re a customer of Firestone Complete Auto Care, stop by your local store to get copies of all your service records and receipts. Or download the My Firestone app and track your service history, call for help, and access offers — all from your phone!

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