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Help buying your new car

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:26 PM

If you've been thinking about buying a new car, you will want to know about two separate government programs designed to help you make the purchase.

One provision, part of the federal stimulus bill approved in February, is open to all Americans. It states that Americans who buy a new car in 2009 can deduct state and local sales taxes and excise taxes from the 2009 income tax forms they file next year.  For more information about the deduction (which everyone can take, not just the folks who itemize deductions), go to the IRS Web site. The same site also has information about the first time homebuyer credit in the stimulus bill, handy for people who have never owned their own home but are ready to take the plunge.

The second program is the so-called "cash for clunkers" bill authored by U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Copley Twp. It makes either $3,500 or $4,500 available for buying a new car, but only for drivers who are getting rid of a low-mileage car that gets a combined city-highway fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon or less. If you already drive a car with good gas mileage and want to buy a newer one, you get nothing. To find out more details, go to the Frequently Asked Questions at the official Car Allowance Rebate System site.

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