Wheeling and dealing

Hey Ace,Where do these people get off charging me taxes for my car? What’s the big idea?—Axl Rhodes

Dear Axl: So, here in America, we pay taxes. It’s part of this little deal we have with the government where we give them some money and they give us free enterprise, private property rights and other incidental things. May Ace suggest that you look into this?

   You may discover, in the course of your research, something called the Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998. If you can convince the government that you own or lease your car under a contract requiring you to pay personal property tax, and you use your car less than 50 percent for business purposes, the tax man will get off your back. Exemption never sounded so easy.

   Unfortunately for wrestling fans throughout Virginia, motor homes and trailers don’t qualify for tax relief (farm vehicles are out, too).

   You also don’t qualify if more than 50 percent of your yearly mileage is considered a business expense for federal income tax purposes or reimbursed by an employer, or if more than 50 percent of your vehicle’s depreciation is deducted as a business expense for federal income tax purposes. You’re also out of luck if your vehicle is expensed pursuant to Section 179 of the IRS Code. Lucky for you, Ace has no idea what that section says, or what pursuant means (it’s called “Ask Ace,” different than “Ace Knows the Answer”).

   Finally, if you managed a deal where you lease your car and the leasing company pays the tax without your reimbursement, Ace would love to know how you pulled it off—but you still have to pay up.

   So there are ways around car taxes. And if you don’t qualify you can always just, you know, not pay. Of course, you and your car might both end up impounded. But at least you’d be tax-free. And in prison, other people’s taxes pay for you! Just something to consider.

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