Can a Government Employee Buy a Car: The question of whether government employees can buy cars isn’t as simple as you might think it would be, especially when it comes to government employees at the federal level.
Can a Government Employee Buy a Car?
Let’s take a look at the surprising answer to whether government employees can buy cars, and then I’ll tell you which category applies to you. You might just be surprised by how much purchasing power you have! The answer is YES.
The restrictions against buying a car for your personal use will differ depending on whether you are a federal employee or a state employee. Federal employees can’t be reimbursed for purchasing an automobile with their own funds, and they can’t make cash withdrawals from their credit union account in order to buy a car (unless it is an emergency).
They can still purchase cars as long as they pay for them through payroll deductions—as long as it’s only one car and not more than $1,500 worth of reimbursements in one year. State employees have slightly fewer restrictions. In most cases, they can buy a car but they cannot be reimbursed by their agency or department. Some states allow agencies to decide if they want to reimburse employees for vehicle purchases. In these cases, there may be limits on how much money an agency can set aside for reimbursement purposes each year.
It is always best to check with your agency before purchasing a vehicle so that you know what kind of policies apply to you specifically and whether there are any restrictions based on your job title or work assignment. If you don’t follow your agency’s rules, you could face penalties ranging from reprimand to termination.
There may also be repercussions for breaking tax laws if you don’t report taxable income from auto purchases properly. Your options for purchasing a car as a government employee include: After buying a car, government employees should consider ways to save money when driving it: The first step in saving money while driving is finding out how much gas costs at different stations near where you live and work.
Step 1: Know Your Employee Status
First, and most importantly, you need to know what kind of employment status you have. In any job with the government or a state-level agency, your status is going to be either at will or some variation of civil service. If you’re an at-will employee, which essentially means that your employer can terminate you at any time for any reason (except violating anti-discrimination laws), then there’s no risk involved in buying a car. Civil servants are bound by rules set forth by their individual agencies and may face consequences for breaching those rules.
So if you’re not sure about your employment status, ask someone who works there. They’ll probably know! Also, don’t forget to check your own employment contract. Sometimes these things aren’t on a company website but rather something that was handed out during onboarding—you know when you signed all those papers without reading them? Yeah…those papers. I mean…it’s cool if you didn’t read them though; nobody does…right? RIGHT?!?
Ugh…okay moving on! It’s important to understand how much control your employer has over how much money you make as well as how they expect employees to spend it. It could be worth checking into if they even allow employees to buy cars on company credit cards too; while that’s technically against company policy (if it exists) it’s still possible for certain people with enough clout. You just want to make sure you won’t get fired for doing so before you go ahead and do it. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone…we promise.
Step 2: Understand the Rules
The complicated answer is, that it depends. First, a government employee can buy a car only if his or her agency allows it. Second, federal and state laws prohibit individuals from accepting gifts valued over $100, so even if an agency does allow its employees to purchase vehicles for their personal use (which usually means as part of a carpool), there are strict rules regarding how much individuals may spend on them. Most agencies won’t buy employees’ vehicles; instead, they offer them the use of a government-owned pool that employees share access to.
Finally, there are special rules for when someone leaves government service. If you leave your job with a vehicle bought with your own money, you must sell it back to your former employer within six months at fair market value. If you don’t want to do that, you must pay taxes on any gain in value between what you paid and what your employer sells it back for—and either way, keep paying taxes until you’ve recouped all costs associated with buying and operating the vehicle. For example: Let’s say Mary worked at an agency where she was allowed to buy a vehicle under certain conditions.
She bought one for $25,000 with cash she saved up herself after taxes were taken out of each paycheck during her five years working at her job before leaving government service. Her agency then sold her vehicle back to her for $20,000. Because Mary owned the car personally, she would have to pay taxes on any increase in value between what she paid ($25,000) and what she sold it for ($20,000). In other words, Mary would have to pay income tax on $5,000 of capital gains ($25,000 – $20,000 = $5,000).
This rule applies no matter how long you hold onto your vehicle after leaving government service. In fact, some people report owing thousands of dollars in capital gains tax just because they didn’t sell their cars fast enough. So remember: Don’t forget about taxes when calculating whether buying a car makes sense!
Step 3: Check with your Division Manager
Before you make a decision, it’s important to talk with your division manager and inform them that you’re thinking about buying a car. Get their input on whether or not it will impact your job duties or if there will be many opportunities for financial incentives. If they give you the green light, proceed to step 4; if not, move on. to step 5. You should also ask how much time off you’ll need to take in order to get all of your errands done.
Remember, even though you have time off coming from working overtime, don’t assume you can use every last minute of it at once—you might need some saved up for an emergency. Also, be sure to check with your division manager before looking into financing options. Some companies may offer employee loan programs which are easier than applying for a bank loan (see Step 6). And remember: Don’t forget to tell your spouse! He or she may want to go along for the ride as well. 5 Ways to Know When It’s Time to Change Careers.
Career advice is great, but it doesn’t always provide real-world examples of what life is like after you make a career change. That’s why we decided to reach out to our community members who made career changes themselves — either recently or years ago — and asked them one simple question: What do you wish someone had told you before you changed careers? Here are five pieces of invaluable advice that we learned from these awesome career changers:
Step 4: Does it make sense financially?
Before you get caught up in all of your newfound excitement and start cruising through dealership parking lots, it’s important to make sure you have done your due diligence. You should always take a step back and evaluate what is best for your situation. Do you need a car? Is Will having a vehicle help you achieve your financial goals? Maybe not having a car helps you save money by reducing expenses or allowing you to put more money towards retirement savings.
Maybe it will help pay off debt faster or let you live location independent so that one day soon when work comes looking for their next round of layoffs, they won’t find you. These are just some examples of how having no car could be better than having one. If any of these sounds like something you would like to do, then maybe getting rid of your car isn’t such a bad idea after all. If none of these apply to you, then maybe buying a car makes sense after all. Either way, do your research before making any decisions.
When it comes down to it, there really isn’t anything wrong with buying a new car if that’s what makes sense for you financially. But, don’t forget to consider whether or not it makes sense from an emotional standpoint as well. Buying a car is an investment in yourself and your future. It’s easy to get swept away by emotions when purchasing expensive items like cars but remember that at the end of the day you’re spending someone else’s money (which may or may not be yours). Make sure you keep that fact in mind while shopping around for a new ride!
While there are many perks associated with government employment, it is not true that government employees can buy cars. In reality, each government employee must abide by policies that determine who qualifies for car allowances and who does not.
To answer whether or not you can buy a car, all employees need to know about any policies in place that affect their ability to purchase a vehicle on their own or through their agency.
Talk with your HR department about any policies and find out if you qualify for a vehicle allowance or if your agency will provide support in purchasing your next car. Once you know where you stand, explore Federal Employee Auto Auctions and learn how buying from an auto auction could save money on your next ride.