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Can You Write Off Car Repairs?
May 24, 2024 - 2 min read

Can you write off car repairs?


Car repairs are generally tax deductible if you're a self-employed individual. In this article, we’ll explain who qualifies to claim deductions on car repairs and how to deduct these expenses on your tax return. 

Who can write off car repair expenses 

While car repairs are tax deductible, not everyone is eligible to deduct them. The list of individuals who may qualify to write off car repairs on their tax return includes:

  • Self-employed individuals like freelancers or small business owners
  • Gig and delivery drivers  
  • Armed Forces reservists
  • Qualified performing artists 
  • Fee-basis state or local government officials

Employees receiving only a Form W-2 reporting their wages do not qualify to deduct car repairs.

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Deductible car repair costs 

Deductible car expenses are those considered both ordinary and necessary and related to the use of your vehicle. 

The IRS considers ordinary expenses as ones that are common and accepted in your trade or business and necessary expenses as those that are helpful and appropriate. Ordinary and necessary expenses related to driving your car may include:

  • Gas
  • Oil
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Personal vs business use of vehicle 

The car repair costs must also relate to when your vehicle is used for business purposes. Costs associated with personal use of your car are not deductible. 

Business purposes include:

  • Traveling from one work location to another
  • Attending meetings
  • Visiting clients
  • Delivering orders

If you use your car for both business and personal reasons, as many self-employed individuals do, you must allocate your car repair costs between business and personal use. 

You can allocate these expenses based on the miles driven for business versus for personal use. 

Keeping records

During the year, you’ll need to track your car’s business mileage and distinguish it from personal driving. A mileage tracking app can help ensure that every time you drive your car for business, the miles are recorded and kept for when you need to file your tax return.

How to write off car repairs 

There are two methods for deducting car repairs and other expenses related to your vehicle on your tax return - the standard mileage method and the actual expense method. 

Standard mileage method

The standard mileage method applies a standard rate per mile for the miles driven for business purposes during the tax year. The current IRS business mileage rate is 67 cents per mile. 

Actual expenses method

On the other hand, the actual expenses method allows you to write off the costs you actually bear to operate your car for business, including car repairs. To apply this method, you’ll want to keep receipts and records. 

Before selecting between the two methods, consider both to see which is the better fit for your situation. Our dedicated IRS self-employed guide has more specific information on how to choose and calculate your deductions with either method. 

Where to file your car repair costs

Generally, for self-employed individuals, car repairs are deducted as an expense on your Schedule C. 

Depending on how you report your vehicle, you may also need to complete Part IV of Schedule C, which requires details like when you placed the car in service and the total miles driven for business reasons. 

Additionally, you’ll want to keep records of the car repairs and other expenses you write off so you have documentation to substantiate your deduction.

FAQ

In short, yes. As self-employed, you can claim various business vehicle expenses on your tax return. Those include, among others, repairs, gas and oil, tires, maintenance, registration fees, as well as parking fees and tolls. However, it only applies to business driving. Remember that any costs associated with personal use of your car are not deductible.
As a DoorDash driver, you are considered an independent contractor, which means you can write off various business-related vehicle maintenance expenses, including car repairs. Make sure you keep accurate documentation of your expenses to claim a deduction.

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