Tax Deductions And The Fiscal Cliff

Morning Edition continues with the latest installment of its series: The Twelve Days of Deductions. It's a nod to the many deductions, credits and other tax breaks that political leaders are weighing as they continue their negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

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And let's continue now with the latest installment of our 12 Days of Deductions.


GREENE: This is our nod to the many deductions, credits and other tax breaks that political leaders are weighing as they continue the debate over the budget deficit deadline.


This morning, we look at a business tax break that has been around since the first Reagan administration. It's been known as the SUV Deduction or the Hummer Deduction because it could be used to write off some of cost of a luxury vehicle.

GREENE: Section 179 - as it's more formally known - allows businesses to deduct the cost of equipment bought that year - everything from computers to machinery to office supplies.

BARBARA WELTMAN: So it really is a help for businesses, particularly small businesses, to get them to spend their money and put money into circulation.

GREENE: That's Barbara Weltman, contributing editor to J.K. Lasser's "Your Income Tax 2013." And she says the amount companies could write off has varied over the years.

WELTMAN: Five thousand dollars, $10,000, then they went up to $25,000, and then they got up as high as $500,000 in 2011.

MONTAGNE: The amount that can be written off fell this year to $139,000, and it's set to decrease further next year. That is unless lawmakers make a change during the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Tomorrow, a work-based tax benefit for individuals. A deduction for money that's put into a health savings account.

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