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Dealer Auto "Day Rental"

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Level 2

What is the correct tax treatment for industry practice of "day rental" of inventory vehicles by auto dealer:  (1) reduction in basis or (2) recognition of rental income with depreciation of vehicle?  

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4 Replies 4
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Level 15

If they hold vehicles specifically identified as rental vehicles, they get depreciated.  

ex-AllStar, ex-Lutefisk taste taster, ex-ACME product tester
and ex marks the spot where those rocks and anvils hit me.
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Level 2

Thank you.  I agree with you, but they hold the vehicles in inventory - for sale - but, strangely, engage in day rentals.  A bizarre hybrid status.  It is alleged this is a common practice in the industry.  Thanks again.  

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Level 15

Then you have rental income and no direct offsetting expense.  The "expense" will come later when they will potentially get a reduced selling price for the vehicle somewhere down the road.

ex-AllStar, ex-Lutefisk taste taster, ex-ACME product tester
and ex marks the spot where those rocks and anvils hit me.
Highlighted
Level 2

Therefore, no depreciation because this is "inventory property" and not "property used in a trade or business" which would be subject to depreciation.  Good point.  Still, as you say,  the income must be declared.  Appears that we talking about the dealer's "intent" in holding the property - for sale or for rent.    

So the sale price later would be reduced by direct selling expenses and that is all.  This purported industry practice of reducing basis (by the rent) and not reporting the rent income is, by all appearances, smoke and mirrors.     

Thanks again.