What is a Section 179 Deduction?
December 04, 2018 | BY Reelah Davis
When you purchase property, such as furniture or machinery for business uses, you may be eligible for a tax deduction for the purchase and use of the property. Here’s how Section 179 deduction works.
Section 179 Deduction Explained
The Section 179 deduction allows businesses to deduct the full cost of qualified business assets in the year that the assets are purchased. The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has increased the assets that qualify under the Section 179 Deduction, and removed some limitations. The deduction was generally used for tangible personal property, such as equipment, furniture and fixtures, and computer software. As of the start of the 2018 tax year the following improvements made to nonresidential real property are also eligible for the deduction.
• Qualified improvement property, referring to any improvement to a building’s interior. Improvements do not qualify if they are attributable to:
o the enlargement of the building,
o any elevator or escalator or
o the internal structural framework of the building
• Roofs, HVAC, fire protection systems, alarm systems and security systems.
In the past, businesses were unable to use the deduction for personal property used in residential real estate businesses. This restriction was removed for tax years beginning in 2018, so landlords can now use the Section 179 deduction.
The deduction is limited to one million dollars a year. That means that only equipment of up to $1 million can be deducted in any given year. It is also limited to $2.5 million of asset purchases per year. Following that, there is a dollar for dollar limitation on the deduction.
This means that if a business purchased $3 million of tangible personal property in 2018, their section 179 deduction will only be $500,000. Since the business went over the limit of $2.5 million by $500,000, the section 179 deduction was reduced by that amount ($1,000,000 – $500,000). Therefore, if a business purchases $3.5 of assets in 2018 they will not be eligible to take the deduction. Another limit on the deduction is that it can only be used in an entity that does not have a net loss for the year.
Bonus Depreciation Explained
Bonus depreciation allows business owners to deduct a certain percentage of the cost of qualified assets in the year of purchase. Under the TCJA the percentage for all assets purchased from September 27, 2017 – December 31, 2022 is 100%. Qualified property includes tangible property depreciated under MACRS with a recovery period of 20 years or less. This deduction does not have any dollar limitations, and can lower income to a net loss.
Why would a business elect to use the section 179 deduction instead of bonus depreciation?
1. Since the definition of qualifying property was expanded to include certain improvements to real property, these assets are not eligible for bonus depreciation.
2. Bonus depreciation is usually an add back on state returns, while the section 179 deduction is allowable in NY.
One final consideration to keep in mind is that trusts cannot take the section 179 deduction. Therefore, if a trust is going to be receiving a K‐1 from a partnership they will not be able to make use of the 179 deduction.
For more information on how Section 179 deduction pertains to your business, consult with your trusted Roth&Co advisor.