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Are Auto Loans Tax Deductible?

Updated: Jan 25

Find Out If Your Ohio Auto Loan is Tax Deductible

How to know if your auto loan is tax deductible

When it comes to managing finances, a common question among car buyers in Ohio is whether the interest on auto loans is tax-deductible. It's a valid query, especially considering how such deductions can potentially save taxpayers a significant amount of money. In this blog post, we will explore the tax implications of auto loans in the state of Ohio and clarify what borrowers can and cannot deduct on their tax returns.


Understanding Auto Loan Tax Deductions

First, let's break down the concept of tax deduction. Also known as a write-off, tax deductions reduce your taxable income, meaning you pay taxes on a smaller base amount. Certain types of loan interest, such as mortgage interest, are tax-deductible under specific conditions. However, when it comes to auto loans, the rules are different.


General Rule: Personal Loans Are Not Deductible

Personal Use of Vehicle: For the majority of taxpayers in Ohio, the interest paid on an auto loan is not tax-deductible. This applies if the vehicle is used for personal purposes such as commuting, traveling, or running errands. The IRS does not allow taxpayers to deduct interest on personal loans, which includes personal auto loans.





Exceptions to the Rule

Business Use of Vehicle: However, there are exceptions. If you use your vehicle for business purposes, the interest on the auto loan can be partially deductible.


  • Business Owners and Self-Employed Individuals: If you own a business or are self-employed and use your car for business-related activities, you may be able to deduct a portion of the interest on your auto loan. The vehicle must be used more than 50% of the time for business purposes, and the deduction is limited to the business-use percentage of the interest.

  • Itemized Deductions: You will need to itemize your deductions to take advantage of the business interest deduction. This means you should be keeping detailed records and logs of your vehicle's usage, including miles driven for business, purpose of the trips, and the total mileage for the year.

  • Form 1040 Schedule C: Business owners and self-employed individuals will typically report this deduction on Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business) of their IRS Form 1040.

Are Auto Loans Tax Deductible?

In Ohio, interest paid on auto loans is not tax-deductible when the vehicle is used for personal purposes. However, for those using their vehicles predominantly for business, a portion of the auto loan interest may be deductible, with detailed records required to substantiate the business use on Schedule C of Form 1040.


Other Considerations


Sales Tax Deduction

While the interest on auto loans may not be deductible, Ohio taxpayers can still benefit from another vehicle-related deduction. You may be able to deduct the sales tax you paid on the purchase of the vehicle, but this is subject to certain limitations and it's an either-or situation between deducting state income taxes or sales taxes.

Choosing Between Sales Tax and State Income Tax Deductions:

Taxpayers have the option to deduct either the state and local sales taxes or state and local income taxes that they paid during the year, but not both. This choice largely depends on which option provides the greater tax benefit. In states with high-income taxes, it might be more advantageous to opt for the income tax deduction, whereas in states with no income tax, the sales tax deduction could be the better choice.


Limitations on Deductions:

There is a cap on the total amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted. From 2018 to 2025, the limit is set at $10,000 for married filing jointly and $5,000 for married filing separately. This ceiling includes the sum of real property taxes, personal property taxes, and either state and local income taxes or sales taxes, depending on which you elect to deduct.



Electric Vehicle Credits

Additionally, should you purchase an electric vehicle, you might be eligible for federal tax credits. The state of Ohio may also offer credits or incentives for such purchases, which could provide additional financial benefits beyond the scope of loan interest deductions. Federal Tax Credit for New & Used Electric Vehicles


New Vehicle Clean Credit up to $7,500

The federal government offers a significant tax credit for the purchase of new electric vehicles. If you purchase a new, qualified plug-in EV, you may be eligible for a credit of up to $7,500. This incentive is part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and applies to vehicles purchased from 2023 to 2032.


Used Vehicle Clean Credit up to $4,000

If you're buying a qualified used EV from a licensed dealer for $25,000 or less, a used clean vehicle tax credit is also available beginning January 1, 2023. The credit amounts to 30% of the sale price up to a maximum of $4,000.


Ohio's Commitment to Electric Vehicle Adoption

Ohio is taking steps to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, not only through the federal tax credit but also with additional incentives:


  • Rebates for EV Charging Stations: For those installing Level 2 EV charging stations, rebates are available, such as a $250 rebate offered by the Firelands Electric Cooperative (FEC) for its members.

  • Commercial EV Charging Station Incentives: The Commercial Electric Vehicle Charging Station Incentive Program provides financial incentives for network services, direct current fast charging stations, and hardware.


Point of Sale Tax Credit Transfer

Starting in January 2024, under a provision of the Inflation Reduction Act, consumers can transfer the federal EV tax credit to car dealers, effectively reducing the purchase price of eligible new and used vehicles at the time of sale. This means that the tax credit can be immediately applied as a discount on your vehicle purchase.


 

While auto loan interest is generally not tax-deductible in Ohio for personal vehicles, there are exceptions for those using their vehicles for business purposes. It's important for taxpayers to understand these nuances and keep meticulous records if they intend to claim any deductions related to their vehicles. As always, for personalized tax advice, it is recommended to consult with a tax professional who can provide guidance based on your individual circumstances.


Remember, tax laws can change, and it's important to stay informed about any new legislation that may affect your ability to deduct auto loan interest or other related expenses. Keep a lookout for updates from the Ohio Department of Taxation or the IRS to ensure you are taking full advantage of any available tax benefits.



Ohio Tax Deductible Auto Loans

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