Q: In a recent article, you said theequipment write-off is available for used SUVs. (See 10/20/03 issue.) When I was car shopping, I mentioned that to a few dealers, but they said the tax break was available only for new vehicles. Was your article correct? G.S., St. Paul, Minn.
A: Yes. Section 179 of the tax code lets you "expense" (immediately deduct) either new or used depreciable equipment. So the newly increased allowance lets you write off up to $100,000 on the cost of a new or used "large" SUV, truck or van used for business in 2003. Remember, to qualify for the write-off, vehicles must weigh more than 6,000 pounds. Plus, you can claim the tax break only if you use the vehicle more than 50 percent for business. And the allowance is based on the percentage of business use. (For example, if you use it 65 percent for business, you can take a Section 179 write-off on 65 percent of the SUV's cost.)