Updated: February 7, 2019

You can take a mileage deduction by tracking your drives with a mileage tracker. Or 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 Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

What is the Section 179 deduction?

The Section 179 deduction allows small business owners and the self-employed to deduct the full price of certain equipment. This can include machinery, office furniture, software and even heavy vehicles.

Expansion of Section 179 property include the following improvements applied to nonresidential real property after the date when the property first went into service:

  • Qualified improvement property or any improvement to a building’s interior. However, improvements do not qualify if they are attributable to:
    • the enlargement of the building,
    • any elevator or escalator or
    • the internal structural framework of the building.
  • Fire protection systems, alarm systems, security systems, HVAC, and roofs.

These changes apply to property placed in service in taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017.

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:

  • Bonus depreciation amount is 100 percent for assets placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2023
  • The new law now applies to used equipment and select improvements made to nonresidential real property
  • The deduction limit increases from $500,000 to $1 million
  • Phase-out threshold increases from $2 million to $2.5 million.

It’s important to realize that adjustments for inflation apply to these threshold amounts of $1 million and $2.5 million for taxable years beginning after 2018.

What Section 179 vehicles qualify for the full deduction?

Vehicles that weigh more than 6,000 pounds but less than 14,000 pounds qualify for the Section 179 deduction.

That weight limitation applies to your business truck, van or vehicle with a truck base (like most SUVs). The unloaded weight 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 Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

Section 179 vehicles deduction for 2018 tax year and beyond

The new rules under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 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

Temporary bonus depreciation for Section 179 vehicles

The new tax law increased the bonus percentage from 50 percent to 100 percent for qualified property. This property must be acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2023. Property purchased before Sept. 28, 2017, and placed in service before Jan. 1, 2018 is eligible for the old 50 percent bonus depreciation.

Get Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

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.

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.

As can be seen, 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 Office 365 To Securely Run & Grow Your Business »

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

Latest posts by Stephen Fishman (see all)