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Transportation Savings
Vehicle deductions can be particularly tricky. Many owners wind up driving blind, say experts, unaware of how much money they're losing through poor tax planning.

Not so Dennis Verkest (pictured at right) the owner of A Chimney Sweep & More. Verkest travels great distances to service his clients he has, logging more than 15,000 miles a year in his Ford F-150 pickup.

Because his pickup is fairly new (2004 model year), conventional wisdom holds that Verkest should take the normal deductions. For a car or light truck, you get a write-off that changes from $3,060 in year one to $1,775 in the fourth year and onward until you've depreciated the purchase price. You can also deduct the cost of insurance, repairs, and - critically - gasoline.

But Verkest chose option two: standard mileage. You can't depreciate the cost of the car or write-off gas. Instead, you take a simple deduction based on how many miles you drive. For 2008 it's 50.5 cents a mile, up from 48.5 cents in 2007. By choosing the mileage rate, his CPA figures, Verkest will be able to increase his write-off by as much as $750 over the normal deduction. "I'll do anything to keep more money in my pocket," Verkest says.

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Last updated February 25 2008: 11:17 AM ET
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