Updated: August 7, 2018

You can take a mileage deduction by tracking your miles. Alternatively, you can take a depreciation deduction if you use the actual expense method. There are strict limits to this if you have a “passenger automobile.” Yet, business vehicles like trucks, vans or SUVs can qualify for a larger write-off. Let’s go over Section 179 vehicles deductions. We’ll also dive into the deduction limits.

Get MileIQ to start tracking your miles »

What Section 179 Vehicles Qualify for the Full Deduction?

The depreciation deduction limits apply only to “passenger automobiles.” That means vehicles with a gross unloaded weight of less than 6,000 pounds. That weight limitation applies to your business truck, van or vehicle with a truck base (like most SUVs). The gross loaded weight is based on how much the manufacturer says the vehicle can carry. This is different from unloaded weight. That is, the vehicle’s weight without any passengers or cargo.

Trucks that weigh 14,000 pounds or less fully loaded are subject to the same rules as passenger automobiles unless the vehicle is not likely to be used for personal purposes. In that case, the vehicles are not considered passenger automobiles and the limitations on depreciation don’t apply.

SUVs, trucks, vans, and other vehicles that don’t qualify as passenger automobiles are not subject to the IRS limits and can take a full depreciation deduction each year. Using bonus depreciation and/or Section 179, you may be able to deduct all or most of the cost of such a vehicle in a single year.

This is a potentially enormous deduction for business people who purchase heavy SUVs and similar vehicles for their business.

Get MileIQ to start tracking your miles »

Section 179 Deduction for 2017

Type of VehicleSection 179 Limit
Passenger Cans and Trucks$11,160
SUVs (between 6,000 - 14,000 pounds)$25,000

Section 179 Vehicles Deduction for 2018 Tax Year and Beyond

The new tax law has a major impact on the write off you can take for Section 179 vehicles. It changed the depreciation limits for vehicles placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017.

Here’s the limit you can claim for depreciation if you haven’t claimed bonus depreciation.

Year Placed in ServiceDepreciation Deduction
First Year$10,000
Second Year$16,000
Third Year$9,600
Each Taxable Year After$5,760

Section 179 Vehicle Deduction Limits For 2018 with Bonus Depreciation

If you’ve claim 100 percent bonus depreciation, your deduction limits are:

Year Placed In ServiceDepreciation Limit w/Bonus
First Year$18,000
Second Year$16,000
Third Year$9,600
Each Year After$5,760

Bonus Depreciation For Section 179 Vehicles

If you placed a heavy vehicle into service in 2017, you can get a 50 percent first-year bonus depreciation. That means you could deduct 50 percent of the cost in one year if you used the vehicle 100 percent for business purposes.

Businesses can depreciate 50 percent of the cost of equipment put into service during 2015, 2016 and 2017. The current rules say the bonus depreciation will phase down to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019.

Section 179 Vehicles Expensing

Section 179 also allows you to deduct a specified amount of the total cost of all tangible personal property used at least 51 percent of the time for business. The Section 179 deduction limit is $500,000 for 2017. Remember, you can’t deduct more than you made in annual business profit. So, if you don’t make a profit, you don’t get the deduction.

Section 179 Changes With The New Tax Law

The new tax law just passed has greatly expanded the bonus depreciation for Section 179 Vehicles. The major changes include:

  • The bonus depreciation amount is now 100 percent for assets placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017
  • The new law now applies to used equipment
  • The deduction limit is now increased to $1 million

How To Qualify For The Section 179 Deduction

To qualify for the Section 179 vehicle deduction and bonus depreciation, you must use it for business more than 50 percent of the time. This is true for the full five-year depreciation period that applies to vehicles.

If your use dips below 50 percent during any of that five-year period, you’ll have to repay your deduction and bonus depreciation. That’s why it’s vital to track your business mileage, no matter what method you’re using to take a deduction.

Get MileIQ to start tracking your miles »

List of Section 179 Vehicles

You’ll find a list of Section 179 vehicles below. These are vehicles with a loaded weight of over 6,000 pounds.

By no means is this an exhaustive list. You can consult a car manufacturer’s website to see how much a vehicle weighs.

MakeModelLoaded Weight
AudiAudit Q7 3.0T Premium6479
CadillacEscalade ESV7300
ChevroletExpress 25008600
ChevroletExpress 35009600
ChevroletSilverado 15006900
ChevroletSilverado 2500HD9500
ChevroletSilverado 3500HD13,025
DodgeGrand Caravan6050
FordExpedition EL7500
GMCSavana 25008600
GMCSierra 15006900
GMCSierra 2500HD9500
GMCSierra 3500HD13400
GMC Yukon XL7300
JeepGrand Cherokee6500
Land RoverRange Rover7033
Lexus LX5707385
LincolnNavigator L7700
NissanNV Passenger9520
RamProMaster 1500 Cargo8550
RamProMaster 2500 Cargo8900
RamProMaster 3500 Cargo9350
RamRam 15008550
RamRam 25009000
RamRam 350010100
ToyotaLand Cruiser7385

Get MileIQ to start tracking your miles »

Stephen Fishman

Stephen Fishman

Stephen Fishman is a self-employed tax expert and regular contributor to MileIQ. He has dedicated his career as an attorney and author to writing useful, authoritative and recognized guides on taxes and business law for entrepreneurs, independent contractors, freelancers and other self-employed people. He is the author of over 20 books and hundreds of articles, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications. Visit Fishman Law and Tax Files for more information on his work.
Stephen Fishman