Here’s a vehicle story that you will find of interest. Taxpayer DJ is in an IRS audit of his 2018 tax return. It is now at the IRS appeals level.



The vehicle in question is an SUV with a curb weight of 5,700 pounds and a gross vehicle weight of 6,100 pounds. 

  • If the tax code makes the SUV a passenger vehicle, the curb weight of 5,700 pounds limits DJ’s tax deduction to $18,000.
  • If the tax code makes the SUV a truck using the gross weight of 6,100 pounds, DJ’s deduction is $55,000

The IRS lawyer who is handling the appeal tells DJ that he has to use curb weight because his SUV is built on a car chassis. 

Wrong. DJ wins his $55,000 deduction. Here’s why.

 To qualify for bonus depreciation (or Section 179 expensing), the SUV must escape the luxury vehicle depreciation limits on deductions.


The escape works like this: 

  1. The SUV must have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 6,001 pounds or more.
  2. Also, the SUV must be a truck under the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. (Using guidelines set out in DOT regulations, manufacturers label SUVs as “trucks” or “cars.”) 

Under the DOT rules, an SUV can qualify as a truck regardless of chassis.

In conclusion, we recommend to talk with a tax expert if you have bonus depreciation or Section 179 questions.



If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me by scheduling a call, or by emailing at


We specialize in helping clients clarify their taxes so they keep more of their money. Many small business owners who come to see us in Fort Worth, TX generally do not understand the tax law enough to explain it to a fifth grader.


Tatsiana B. Bender
Bender CPA, PLLC
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 313-4352