Businesses can expense more under Tax Reform Legislation
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) provides the opportunity for businesses to expense more than in previous years. The Internal Revenue Service outlined the changes in a fact sheet:
A taxpayer may elect to expense the cost of any section 179 property and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service. The new law increased the maximum deduction from $500,000 to $1 million. It also increased the phase-out threshold from $2 million to $2.5 million. For taxable years beginning after 2018, these amounts of $1 million and $2.5 million will be adjusted for inflation.
The new law also expands the definition of section 179 property to allow the taxpayer to elect to include the following improvements made to nonresidential real property after the date when the property was first placed in service:
- Qualified improvement property, which means any improvement to a building’s interior. However, improvements do not qualify if they are attributable to:
- the enlargement of the building,
- any elevator or escalator or
- the internal structural framework of the building.
- Roofs, HVAC, fire protection systems, alarm systems and security systems.
These changes apply to property placed in service in taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017.
Temporary 100 percent expensing for certain business assets (first-year bonus depreciation)
The new law increases the bonus depreciation percentage from 50 percent to 100 percent for qualified property acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2023. The bonus depreciation percentage for qualified property that a taxpayer acquired before Sept. 28, 2017, and placed in service before Jan. 1, 2018, remains at 50 percent. Special rules apply for longer production period property and certain aircraft.
The definition of property eligible for 100 percent bonus depreciation was expanded to include used qualified property acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, if all the following factors apply:
- The taxpayer or its predecessor didn’t use the property at any time before acquiring it.
- The taxpayer didn’t acquire the property from a related party.
- The taxpayer didn’t acquire the property from a component member of a controlled group of corporations.
- The taxpayer’s basis of the used property is not figured in whole or in part by reference to the adjusted basis of the property in the hands of the seller or transferor.
- The taxpayer’s basis of the used property is not figured under the provision for deciding basis of property acquired from a decedent.
- Also, the cost of the used property eligible for bonus depreciation doesn’t include the basis of property determined by reference to the basis of other property held at any time by the taxpayer (for example, in a like-kind exchange or involuntary conversion).
The new law added qualified film, television and live theatrical productions as types of qualified property that may be eligible for 100 percent bonus depreciation. This provision applies to property acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017.
Under the new law, certain types of property are not eligible for bonus depreciation in any taxable year beginning after December 31, 2017. One such exclusion from qualified property is for property primarily used in the trade or business of the furnishing or sale of:
- Electrical energy, water or sewage disposal services,
- Gas or steam through a local distribution system or
- Transportation of gas or steam by pipeline.
This exclusion applies if the rates for the furnishing or sale have to be approved by a federal, state or local government agency, a public service or public utility commission, or an electric cooperative.
The new law also adds an exclusion for any property used in a trade or business that has had floor-plan financing indebtedness if the floor-plan financing interest was taken into account under section 163(j)(1)(C). Floor-plan financing indebtedness is secured by motor vehicle inventory that in a business that sells or leases motor vehicles to retail customers.
The new law eliminated qualified improvement property acquired and placed in service after December 31, 2017 as a specific category of qualified property.
Deciphering the new legislation can be confusing. Have questions about how your organization can benefit? Start here.