Sales Tax Deduction for Vehicle Purchases

If you are considering whether to buy a new car, it is important to remember that, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “ARRA”), taxpayers may deduct state and local sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase of new passenger cars, light trucks, motor homes and motorcycles. The deduction is available on new vehicles purchased from February 17, 2009 through December 31, 2009. In states that don’t have a sales tax, the ARRA provides a deduction for other taxes or fees paid as long as these taxes and fees are assessed on the purchase of the vehicle and are based on the vehicle’s sales price or as a per unit fee. This deduction is available whether or not a taxpayer itemizes deductions on Schedule A.

The deduction is limited to the taxes and fees paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of an eligible vehicle. The deduction is reduced for joint filers with modified adjusted gross incomes (MAGI) between $250,000 and $260,000 and other taxpayers with MAGI between $125,000 and $135,000. Taxpayers with higher incomes do not qualify.