what is best for loan signings buying or leasing a car ??
One of the major points to keep in mind about leasing a car is most leased cars have mileage limits. Depending on your business, will you exceed that mileage limit and, if so, what is the penalty/cost?
I use to work for an independent leasing company… here are a couple of hints:
Dealers want to hook you on a “closed in lease “, which puts them in control of terms etc. an “openend“lease gives you more flexibility and control.
15,000 miles is more realistic for business usage, Than 12,000 Miles that they wanna offer. If you’re not experienced in this area find someone you trust or stay out of the Shark Tank.
I have been self employed since 1992 and have leased my vehicles since 2003. I always pay for a
high mileage lease(18,000). I am a bookkeeper/tax preparer by Trade as well as mobile notary. Some of My bookkeeping jobs have been mobile as well, meaning I would routinely go to them instead of them coming to me. One was 60 miles round trip 6-8 times per month. I haven’t driven 12,000 mile in any one year in forever. However, pay for the extra miles up front on the lease instead of only getting 12,000 and then going over in the end. It is cheaper to get up front instead of paying them for going over…
I have business lettering in my back window and I write off 75% of the lease payments. I love it…I get a new vehicle every three to four years, usually with no or little money out of pocket, I can afford a nicer auto…a lot of places allow for free routine maintenance up to 50,000 miles and almost never out of warranty and get a tax write off. I did purchase a fun used vehicle a few years ago to run around in and run errands, grocery shop etc to save on mileage on the lease vehicles as I was running upwards of 20 - 22,000 miles a year total. When I retire I will most likely not lease or will at least look at the purchase vs lease. Not for everybody, but works well for me…
I would consult with your tax preparer about whether a portion (or all) of your lease may be deductible. The key factor is % of business use - if the vehicle is 100% business use, it is generally 100% deductible (within limits - you can’t write off a Ferrari if you’re earning $50/month with Uber Eats!). Written records, reasonable substantiation and business necessity are always the factors I use when defending clients in federal or state tax audits.
Vehicle expenses are generally tabulated one of two ways - actual expenses, which would include finance costs (i.e.: the lease payments), repair, fuel, oil and other direct expenses; or mileage, in which a fixed amount is deducted for each mile ($0.575 for 2020).
This all assumes that the driver/owner is not being reimbursed for expenses.
When I buy a car, I look at the actual price I’m being charged… Lease deals are made cheap by discounted interest (a good deal) or inflated residual values (not so much a good deal, especially if you plan to buy). Inflated residuals are great, though, if you know you’re going to return the vehicle.
I know sales folks that do >50k mi/year, which knocks ~$29k off their income using the mileage method. When I was in consulting, my mileage deductions essentially paid for a new car every 2-3 years (I had a big working territory).
Put simply, I don’t lease unless there is a compelling reason to do so (inflated residuals, promotional interest rate, big incentive rebates. I negotiate my best deal, then I talk finance or lease (my last deal was $44k sticker, 29.9k plus tax/tags off the lot.
I assume with COVID cramping sales, there’s even more opportunity (especially for 2019 leftovers).
Howard W. Bleiwas, Enrolled Agent
Leasing a car is the worst investment