Training for Success with Your Internet Business, Article 6, Motor Vehicle Expenses.

The sixth article in a series of training articles that are a must read for all business owners, whether they are operating an on line home based business, or a regular home based business. These tips and suggestions are provided from real life situations as seen and experienced by the author. This article covers Motor Vehicle Costs that can  be included in your home based or home business expenses.

As a home business owner, you may deduct the cost of driving in the course of your home based business, including trips to business meetings or seminars, to entertain clients outside your home, to pick up products and office supplies, to make deliveries, and to do business banking. 

If you are engaged in a network marketing business or an MLM Business, the cost of visiting prospective clients and persons (Leads) you would like to recruit into your sales organization is deductible, even if you are not successful in your recruiting efforts.

If your home-based business is your only employment, all of  your driving to and from your home office, which is your principal place of business, and different locations where you are actually involved in carrying on your business, is deductible.  But if you are also employed elsewhere, as an employee, figuring your deductible business mileage is slightly more complicated. The reason being that commuting between your home and place of work is normally considered a personal expense and is not deductible as a business expense.

In order to deduct business mileage as a  home office business expense, you must show that your home is your principal place of business.  Your principal place of business is where you regularly meet with clients or customers, where your more important work is done, or where you spend most of your time. The cost of going from your home office to a related business location is deductible, even if your home office is the site of a secondary business or job.  For example, driving from home to the bank to deposit business checks provides mileage that is deductible as a business expense.

Where a home-based business is only worked part time, be sure to conduct business in your home before going to a related business location, such as the bank above, or you will risk losing the deduction.  Keep a daily record of your business activities at home to prove you were traveling between two business locations on that day.

Computing your auto expense.

There are two methods of computing your automobile expense:

the mileage rate or

the actual expenses method.

You may use either method to calculate your costs.  You will, obviously, want to use the method that gives you the higher deduction.

Mileage rate. You may deduct a certain amount (this is an amount provided for by the tax legislation in the country in which you are carrying on your home based business) per mile for business driving.  If you use this method, you must combine the mileage for all cars driven for the same business. If you use the mileage rate, you may additionally, usually  deduct parking fees and tolls.

Actual expenses method. Alternately, you may deduct the business portion of the expenses of operating your car, such as gas, oil, repairs, insurance, car washes, tires,  auto loan interest and depreciation, if you purchased the vehicle or lease costs if the vehicle is being leased.

Generally, if you buy a new car during the year, the actual expenses method will exceed the mileage rate method.  This presumes, of course, that you keep complete records of your expenses throughout the year.  If not, you should use the mileage rate instead. Only expenses attributable to your business use of the car are deductible. 

This means you must allocate your operating costs and depreciation according to your percentage of business use.  Usually, parking fees and tolls do not have to be allocated, however.

To calculate Motor Vehicle Expenses you will need to record and have available the following information:

Total distance driven in year.

Total distance driven during year for business purposes. ( You would be well advised to keep a logbook to record this information on a regular basis.)

If you receive any reimbursement and or allowance for using your motor vehicle, and it is not included in your income, you must deduct this amount from any claim that you make.

Fuel Costs,

Repairs & Maintenance,

Lease Payments if Vehicle is Leased,

Copy of Lease if Vehicle is Leased,

Vehicle Washes,


Licence and Registration,

Parking Costs and tolls,

If Vehicle is owned, Make, Model & Year of Vehicle,

Year of Purchase of Vehicle,

Cost of Vehicle,

Interest on money borrowed to purchase vehicle,

Note: Taxation legislation differs between countries and each country may change their rules at any time. The information provided in these newsletters is accurate at time of publication. You should however seek specific information from your Tax Advisor or Taxation Department as it relates to your own situation each year that you are required to provide Income and Expense Statements.

Other topics in this series are as follows:

Number 1, Record Keeping,

Number 2, General Expenses,

Number 3, Purchase of Goods for Resale,

Number 4, Deductions for use of Home,

Number 5, Entertainment Expenses,

Number 7, Depreciation Costs,

Number 8, Business Meals,

Number 9, Salary Payments to Children,

Number 10, Travel Expenses,

Number 11, Demonstrators Samples & Promotional Tools,

Number 12, Gifts,

Number 13, Here Comes the Tax Man,

Number 14, Capital Items,

John Ritchie, 

Copyright to this article belongs to John Ritchie.

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