Generally, it takes nearly four decades to fully depreciate the cost of a business building. That's a long time in most people's book. But you may be able to recoup the cost of certain components faster with a cost segregation study prepared by an expert.
How tangible personal property can accelerate deductions
Based on the main tax system for depreciation deductions - the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) - the usual write-off period for business real estate is 39 years. In contrast, MACRS allows you to write off "tangible personal property" over shorter spans like five, seven or 15 years. For instance, the MACRS period for computers is only five years.
Fortunately, you may not be necessarily stuck with the lengthy 39-year period for the entire building. Cost segregation studies can help taxpayers identify certain building components to be treated like tangible personal property so they can recover their costs over shorter depreciation periods. For example, a restaurant might accelerate hundreds of thousands of dollars in write-offs on a $5 million property.
What sort of components can be identified in a cost segregation study? The list includes, but isn't necessarily limited to, the following:
Finally, you might be able to accelerate expenses even more by using Section 179 expensing ($1,020,000 for 2019) and 100-percent bonus depreciation for qualified assets. Therefore, a cost segregation study may provide even greater benefits.
But be careful, the IRS has a long history of challenging accelerated deductions. Thankfully, the Audit Techniques guides the IRS agents use for guidance are also available to the public to provide insight into cost segregation choices likely to be accepted.
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