Vehicle Finance vs Lease: Which Is Right for Me?

Vehicle Finance vs Lease-1
It’s no secret that shopping for a vehicle can be overwhelming. Not only are you choosing between different makes and models, but you also need to determine how you’re going to pay for the vehicle. Vehicle finance vs lease are two of the main ways to purchase a vehicle, but which is better in terms of cost savings and tax benefits? We’ll dive into that and more, below.   What’s the Difference Between Finance and Leasing a Car?    Let’s quickly review the differences between finance versus lease.   Lease: You’re paying to loan the car for a fixed period of time. At the end of the period, you return the vehicle and you can take out a new lease or extend your current lease.   Finance: You’re purchasing the vehicle through a loan from a bank or dealership and paying in monthly intervals until the loan is paid off.     So, car finance or lease, which is better? The truth is that both are great options, depending on your individual situation.   In general, lease payments are lower than finance payments because you’re only paying to “rent” the vehicle, whereas with financing, you’re paying to own the vehicle. However, in the long run, financing can cost less since you’ll eventually be payment free and own your vehicle outright.   Here’s a quick review of the benefits of each vehicle purchase option:   Benefits of Leasing:   
  • You get to drive a new car every 2-3 years
  • You enjoy lower monthly payments
  • Your vehicle is always covered under warranty
Benefits of Financing:  
  • You own the vehicle
  • You’ll be payment free after paying off your loan
  • You build equity and can trade in or resell your vehicle eventually
    Depending on your priorities, either option might be a better fit for you. Determining your long-term goals is your best bet for figuring out if you should choose to finance or lease your next vehicle.   For example, if you’re eventually looking to own a car and save money long-term, financing is the way to go. But if you’re not sure you want to own a vehicle and are looking to save money right now on payments, leasing might be the right choice for you.   Tax Benefits of Finance vs Lease   So, what about if you own a small business? If you’re using your vehicle for your business, you’ll be able to claim some or all of the costs on your taxes. For both leasing and financing, you can claim the gas, insurance, maintenance and more on your taxes for the portion that you use the vehicle for work. But both options have even more tax benefits.   Tax Benefits of Leasing   When leasing a vehicle, you can claim some of the lease cost on your taxes if you’re using it for business purposes. The amount you claim depends on how much you use it for work (e.g. 50% of your lease cost if you use the vehicle half the time for work).   Keep in mind that you can only claim up to $800 plus taxes per month for a maximum of $9,600 each year. So if your yearly lease payment is $4,200 and you use it 80% of the time for business purposes, you could deduct $3,360 on your tax return that year. However, it’s important to note that because the CRA limits the depreciation on luxury cars, it also slightly limits lease payments on these cars as well.   Tax Benefits of Financing   For financing, the amount you can claim depends on how much was paid at the time of the vehicle acquisition.  However, part of the loan is also tax deductible, to a maximum each month. So how does it work?   Buying a vehicle outright that you use for your business means you are now eligible to claim Capital Cost Allowance, also known as depreciation, which is 30% per year and it’s tax deductible.   However, any car that costs more than $30,000 is considered a luxury car in the eyes of the CRA, which limits the amount of depreciation that can be claimed. But this can be offset thanks to the Accelerated Investment Incentive, which allows for higher depreciation in the year of purchase.   As well, if you use a loan to purchase the car, you can deduct the interest paid on the loan based on the amount of time it’s used for business purposes. You can claim interest costs up to a maximum of $300 per month.   When it comes to the tax benefits of financing vs. lease, we can help you determine which option is best for tax savings that help your small business succeed.   The Bottom Line   It’s not easy deciding whether to finance vs lease a car. But it comes down to your priorities and ensuring you can comfortably afford the vehicle payments, as well as if you’re looking for tax breaks while using your vehicle for work.   For more help with this and any other questions, give us a call today.