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Hitting a tax bump in the road

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in Small Business Tax

Q. I use the standard mileage rate to compute my business auto deduction. Can I separately deduct the cost of new tires? H.G., Newburgh, N.Y.

No. For 2009, the standard mileage rate is 55 cents per business mile traveled, plus any business-related tolls and parking fees. But that’s it. The standard deduction encompasses all your other auto costs including tires, repairs, insurance, etc., as well as depreciation.

In comparison, if you deduct your actual expenses instead of claiming the standard deduction, you can write off the cost of purchasing new tires and making other repairs.

Even if you’ve used the standard mileage deduction for the vehicle in the past, you’re still able to switch to the actual expense method for 2009.

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