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If I bought a vehicle, can I deduct the sales tax?

You can deduct state and local sales tax. However, you can only claim this deduction if you do so instead of claiming a deduction for state income tax. You'll only want to do this if you paid more in state and local sales tax than you paid in state income tax.

If you deduct sales tax, you can either:

  • Save sales receipts and deduct actual sales taxes paid.
  • Use the IRS sales tax tables to figure your deduction. These tables calculate the estimated sales tax you paid based on your income. They don't include large purchases. So, to the amount in the table, you can add the sales tax you paid on any of these:
    • Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Boats
    • Airplanes
    • Motor homes  

See the Form 1040 instructions for the tables.

Also, if you purchased a car in 2012, you might be able to deduct the sales tax.

You can deduct either of these as an itemized deduction on Schedule A:

  • State and local general sales taxes that you paid last year
  • State and local income taxes

You can't deduct both.

You can’t claim the deduction on your 2013 return. You must amend your 2012 return to claim the deduction. Use Form 1040X to amend your return.

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