Cost Segregation – Business Tax Deductions

By understanding business tax deductions, business owners may enjoy personal benefits from business expenditures – a nice car to drive, a combination business trip/vacation, retirement savings plan – if they follow the myriad tax rules.

The tax code allows deductions from gross income, which reduce income taxes. Increasing tax deductions reduces taxable income and income taxes. Therefore, knowing how to maximize your deductible business expenses enables you to lower taxes.

According to the IRS, trade or business expenses must be ordinary and necessary to be considered a tax deduction. Although the tax code does not specifically define “ordinary” and “necessary” tax deductions, these types of expenses are specified in various IRS publications and regulations. Some of the tax deductions business owners can claim fall under categories such as charitable contributions/donation deductions, medical and dental deductions, moving expense deductions, deducting job costs, travel and entertainment expense deductions, casualty and theft losses, depreciation and involuntary conversion deductions.

The wisdom of tax planning is to take advantage of all the benefits Uncle Sam has to offer. An increasingly popular federal tax savings phenomenon is utilizing a cost segregation study (CSS). These studies offer business owners of improved commercial real estate the opportunity to defer taxes, reduce their overall current tax burden, and free up capital by improving cash flow. A CSS study will identify any item that can be depreciated over a shorter period of time. These studies can result in accelerated depreciation deductions for properties including new buildings being constructed, renovations of existing buildings, leasehold improvements, and the purchase of real estate.

The primary goal of cost segregation is to identify building components that can be reclassified from real property to personal property. This results in a substantially shorter depreciable tax life and accelerated depreciation methods. Ordinarily, the cost of real, or section 1250, property is recovered over lengthy periods (27.5 and 39 years for residential and nonresidential property, respectively), using the straight-line method of depreciation. Personal, or section 1245, property is recovered over considerably shorter periods (5, 7 or 15 years), and employs accelerated methods of depreciation, such as 200% or 150% declining balance.

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