2023 Auto Depreciation Limits

7 minute read

Definition of Auto Depreciation

Auto depreciation is a tax deduction that allows taxpayers to recover the cost of purchasing or leasing a vehicle for business purposes. As a vehicle is used, it loses value due to wear and tear, age, and obsolescence. This decrease in value is known as depreciation, and taxpayers can claim a deduction for this decline in value over time.

The IRS sets limits on the amount of depreciation that can be claimed each year. These limits are based on the type of vehicle, the date it was acquired, and its use. The depreciation deduction is spread out over a number of years, with a higher deduction amount taken in the earlier years of the vehicle's use.

The 2023 auto depreciation limits were recently released by the IRS, and they have increased from the previous year. Taxpayers who use vehicles for business purposes should be aware of these changes and how they may affect their tax planning strategies.

2023 Auto Depreciation Limits

The IRS has issued new depreciation limitations for passenger automobiles for 2023. These limits apply to vehicles used for business purposes, including passenger cars, trucks, and vans.

The depreciation limits are updated annually for inflation in accordance with the automobile component of the chained consumer price index for urban consumers. For passenger automobiles for which the Sec. 168(k) first-year, or “bonus,” depreciation is applied, the limitation is $20,200 for the first tax year, an increase of $1,000 from the 2022 amount.

The succeeding-year limitations are $19,500 for the second tax year, $11,700 for the third year, and $6,960 for each year after that. If bonus depreciation does not apply, the 2023 first-year limitation is $12,200, an increase of $1,000 from 2022.

The new limits apply to passenger automobiles, including trucks and vans, that weigh 6,000 lbs or less unloaded, and to trucks and vans that weigh 6,000 lbs including passengers and cargo. Cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 6,000 lbs are exempt from these depreciation limits and lease inclusion amounts.

It is important for taxpayers and tax advisors to understand these changes and how they may impact their tax planning strategies. The depreciation deduction can make a significant difference in the amount of tax owed, so careful consideration of these limits and any available tax-saving strategies is critical.

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Qualified Property

Qualified property refers to assets that are eligible for certain tax benefits, such as bonus depreciation or section 179 deductions. For 2023, the IRS has set specific rules and limitations for the depreciation of qualified property, including those related to automobiles and real property.

Eligible property types for depreciation purposes include tangible property, such as machinery, equipment, and vehicles, that is used in a trade or business or held for the production of income. In general, the property must have a determinable useful life of more than one year and be expected to last longer than one year.

Automobile component deduction limits refer to the portion of the total cost of a vehicle that can be deducted each year for tax purposes. The limits are based on the cost of the vehicle and are updated annually for inflation. For 2023, the limits for passenger automobiles are $20,200 for the first year (with bonus depreciation) and $12,200 for the first year (without bonus depreciation). These limits decrease each year thereafter until the end of the vehicle's useful life.

Passenger automobile limitations refer to the maximum amount of depreciation that can be claimed for passenger automobiles used for business purposes. For 2023, the limitations are based on the automobile component deduction limits and the weight of the vehicle. The maximum amount that can be deducted for the first year is $20,200 (with bonus depreciation) or $12,200 (without bonus depreciation) for passenger automobiles weighing 6,000 pounds or less.

Real property qualifications refer to the types of property that qualify for certain tax benefits related to depreciation, such as section 179 deductions. For 2023, qualified real property includes certain improvements to the nonresidential property, such as roofs, HVAC systems, and fire protection systems. These improvements must be placed in service after September 27, 2017, and meet other eligibility requirements to qualify for the tax benefits.

Bonus Depreciation Rules

Bonus depreciation allows taxpayers to take an additional deduction on qualified property in the year that the property is placed in service, rather than having to spread the write-off over several years. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduced bonus depreciation in 2017 and made significant changes to the rules for the deduction.

To qualify for bonus depreciation, the property must be qualified property, which generally includes property with a recovery period of 20 years or less, certain computer software, and certain qualified improvement property.

The bonus depreciation amount is calculated as 100% of the property's cost, including the cost of any improvements made to the property before it is placed in service. The deduction is taken in addition to any other depreciation deductions that are allowed.

The income inclusion for bonus depreciation deductions is determined by applying a formula to a dollar amount, and is designed to make the lease deduction substantially equivalent to the depreciation deduction that would have been available if the property had been purchased. The income inclusion amount must be included in the gross income of the taxpayer for each year of the lease term.

It's important to note that bonus depreciation is subject to phase-out rules that begin in 2023. The bonus depreciation rate will be reduced by 20% each year until it is completely phased out in 2027, unless Congress takes action to extend it.

Tax Savings Considerations and Strategies with Auto Depreciation Limits in 2023

When it comes to maximizing tax savings with auto depreciation limits in 2023, there are several factors to consider.

Firstly, vehicle weight and purchase price are critical factors to consider when determining the optimal depreciation method. As mentioned earlier, vehicles weighing more than 6,000 lbs are exempt from depreciation limitations, making them a more attractive option for businesses. Additionally, businesses that invest in more expensive vehicles may find it advantageous to use bonus depreciation or accelerated depreciation methods to reduce taxable income.

Secondly, businesses have the option to choose between long-term and short-term lease options. Long-term leases may result in higher deductions, while short-term leases may allow for more flexibility and reduced financial risk.

Third, it is important to distinguish between business and personal use of the vehicle. Only business use of the vehicle is eligible for depreciation deductions, and it is essential to maintain accurate records to substantiate business use. Failing to do so could result in disallowed deductions and penalties.

Another consideration is utilizing service in the calendar year for tax savings opportunities. If a vehicle is placed in service before December 31st, businesses may be able to take advantage of the full year's depreciation allowance.

Finally, determining the allowable deduction limit is crucial for maximizing tax savings results. A business can calculate the allowable deduction by multiplying the vehicle's cost by the depreciation rate for the corresponding year.


In conclusion, the 2023 auto depreciation limits provide valuable tax savings opportunities for businesses and individuals who use passenger automobiles for trade or business purposes. Understanding the various qualified property types, automobile component deduction limits, and bonus depreciation rules can help taxpayers make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing or leasing vehicles.

By considering factors such as vehicle weight, purchase price, and business use versus personal use, taxpayers can maximize their tax savings and optimize their deduction limits. Utilizing these strategies and staying informed about changes in the tax code can lead to significant tax savings for businesses and individuals.

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