I read online that you can write off the MX if you own your own business. Is this true only if you buy the car or if you finance it? For regular W2 employees, is there any way around this? Can you get a side gig somehow? Curious to see how working folks do freelance stuff?
I'd talk to a CPA on this. There are going to be multiple answers depending on your situation. I am not sure what area asking because you mention own a business or W2. Two different things as you know.
I can only speak from my experience whereas I am incorporated as an S-Corp and an employee of my own company. So, my CPA deducts expenses of running the car for "business" purposes. Since the car is for both business and personal, he declares what percentage of travel is business and what part is personal. Get's even more complex. In later years, to simplify things, I just used a standard mileage deduction. Again, better talk to a CPA. I don't think there is any simple answer unless you give more specific examples. Good luck.
You can own a S-corp (or c corp or proprietorship or whatever business entity) while on W2 of another company(ies). You can definitely write off the car on the business you own, whether you buy it or lease it. Of course you can get a side gig, even selling stuff on ebay is a side gig and you can start a business from it.
Even the President of the US is paid by W-2 and have additional business incomes.
I have a legit higher-income side gig in addition to my W2 job but I have insignificant travel expenses associated with the business so I don't bother attempting to write them off.
To write off vehicle depreciation as a business expense in a way that survives an audit you'd need to have a business that actually justifies use of the vehicle and then you can only write off the portion of the expense used for travel related to the business. In the event of an IRS inquiry you'll be asked for documentation of your business use of the vehicle.
The rules for a home office deduction are similar.