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Leasing vs Buying a Car for Small Business Owners

Small business owners face many decisions when it comes to their vehicles. One of the biggest is whether to lease or buy. Leasing may seem like an attractive option because it typically requires less money upfront and lower monthly payments. However, buying a car may be the better option in the long run if you plan to keep the vehicle for several years.

Benefits of Leasing

Leasing has several benefits for small business owners, including:

  • Lower monthly payments
  • No need for a down payment
  • Ability to drive a new car every few years
  • Tax benefits for business owners who use the car for business purposes

Benefits of Buying

While leasing has its advantages, buying a car may be a better option in the long run. Here are some benefits of buying:

  • No mileage restrictions
  • No need to worry about wear and tear
  • The ability to customize the car to your liking
  • The option to sell the car for cash when you no longer need it

Corporate Ownership of Vehicles

Another option for small business owners is corporate ownership of vehicles. This means that the company owns the vehicle and the business uses it for business purposes. Corporate ownership has its advantages, including:

  • Tax deductions for the business
  • Greater control over the vehicle
  • Increased flexibility in terms of usage

However, corporate ownership also has its drawbacks, including the cost of maintenance and repairs, the need for commercial insurance, and the potential liability if the vehicle is involved in an accident.

Deducting Car Expenses for Small Business Owners

Small business owners who use their car for business purposes can deduct certain expenses on their tax returns. These expenses include:

  • Depreciation
  • Lease payments
  • Gas and oil
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Parking fees and tolls

To qualify for these deductions, the car must be used for business purposes at least 50% of the time. It's important to keep accurate records of all car expenses to ensure that you can claim all eligible deductions.


Small business owners have many options when it comes to their vehicles, including leasing, buying, and corporate ownership. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Additionally, small business owners can take advantage of tax deductions for car expenses. To make the most of these deductions, it's important to keep accurate records and consult with a tax professional.

Jennifer Walsh, CPB

Article by Jennifer Walsh, CPB

Jennifer Walsh has been a bookkeeper for over 20 years and she's loved every minute of it. She loves helping business owners reach their financial goals so they can live the life they love, without having to worry about the numbers.