2017 Depreciation Update

In 2015, Congress passed the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015″ (PATH Act) which provided greater certainty to business owners as to the deductions available to them. Some portions were made permanent while others had certain phase outs and time limits. The following is the status for 2017:

Section 179 – First Year Expensing

• Section 179 expense deduction of up to $500,000 is now permanent. Phase out for larger businesses with annual equipment purchases of $2,000,000 or more.

• The deduction limit of $500,000 is now indexed to inflation. There is no change from 2016.

• Deduction is limited to a businesses’ net income.

• Purchases of new and used equipment are eligible.

• Real property generally does not apply.

• Certain states have not adopted this higher limit.

Bonus Depreciation

• Bonus depreciation is extended from 2015 to 2019.

• Bonus depreciation is 50% for assets placed in service during 2015, 2016 and 2017. It is reduced to 40% in 2018 and 30% in 2019. Bonus depreciation is completely phased out for 2020. However, the law could always be extended again at that time.

• Generally applies to new equipment placed in service during the tax year. Purchases of used equipment are not eligible.

• There is no limit to the deduction.

• Bonus depreciation is no available on state returns.

DeMinimus Safe Harbor

• The IRS issued regulations to provide a safe harbor election that allows businesses to immediately deduct purchases of tangible property that are $2,500 or less or up to $5,000 for businesses with audited financial statements.

• The $2,500 threshold is per item or invoice. Since many fixed assets (i.e. computers) are less than the threshold, this effectively increases the amount of current year deductions a business can take.

• An annual election is to be made and filed with the business’ federal income tax return.

Retail Improvements

• The provision makes permanent the 15-year recovery period for qualified retail improvement property, qualified restaurant property, and qualified leasehold improvement. This greatly benefits automobile dealerships that are working with manufacturers to upgrade facilities.

• Qualified retail improvement property is any improvement to an interior portion of a commercial building. The interior portion needs to be open to the general public and used in a retail trade or business selling tangible personal property to the general public.

• Upgrades that fall within this category allow the business owner to utilize section 179 to maximize current year depreciation deductions on improvements.

Car and Truck Limits

• Listed property rules apply to automobiles. These rules restrict the depreciation deductibility of vehicles. These are outlined as follows:
.Passenger Vehicles-CarsPassenger Vehicles-Trucks and VansVehicles Over 6,000 lbs.*Exceptioned Vehicles Over 6,000 lbs.
2017 Depreciation Deduction Limit (1st Year) $3,160 $3,560 Not limited Not limited
Bonus Depreciation Limit $8,000 $8,000 Not limited Not Limited
Section 179 Limit (New Only) Not eligible Not eligible $25,000 Not limited
Maximum 1st Year Deduction $11,160 $11,460 Certain restrictions Not limited

*Certain specific vehicles over 6,000 lbs. have no limits. These include nine passenger vans, vehicles with a cargo area of six feet in length not readily accessible from the passenger compartment (i.e. box truck), and vehicles without seating rear of the driver (i.e. cargo van).