Tax Break Helps Small Business Buy Big SUVs

October 2, 2003 -- Posted at 5:25 P.M.

JONESBORO, AR -- If you're self employed and own a small business you might qualify for up to a $100,000 tax credit. All you have to do is buy a monster sport utility vehicle.

It's part of the economic stimulus plan passed by Congress offering an up front, one time tax credit of up to $100,000 for self employed business owners who purchase any vehicle weighing 6-thousand pounds or more.

Small business owner James Peeler thought so much of the recently changed tax law that bought not one, but two of  the mammoth H2 Hummers.  "I think it's been very positive for us, and it's been a wonderful stimulus to the economy to be able to do that," said Peeler. 

But it's not just Hummers that qualify, it's any of the modern day monster SUVs.

"You get the big boy," said Peeler. "It's a fun ride, and I've enjoyed it and you get the benefit of the tax credit as well."

Lance Mitchell of Pannel Ford-Mercury said, "The small business owner should take advantage of the tax credit, because it's probably not going to be in effect for very long."

According to a Washington watchdog group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, in 2002 more than 100,000 people took advantage of this so-called SUV tax credit.  And in 2003, even more are expected to do so, moving from lease to purchase.

"You know you used to not hear about it as much, because people would lease as opposed to purchase and get that kind of tax write off," said Lee James of Blackwell-Baldwin Ford. "But we have seen an increase of people that are a little more savy on the tax laws as to what they can write off."

If you're thinking about using the write off, you might want to hurry. A new bill has been introduced in the Senate that would exclude SUVs from the list of vehicles people could write off using the $100,000 small business credit.