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What Is the Section 179 Tax Deduction?

Every year we have conversations with our clients about what we can do different and what needs to be budgeted for replacement in the next year, as technology is ever evolving and the need for speed is fueled by its direct effect on productivity which also affect profitability.  When we have these sessions and discuss the needs, we always touch on the topic of Section 179 and questions around how it works and if it applies in their case.  Now, although we are not licensed tax professionals, we can share the following information which we feel can be of use.


The section 179 tax deduction allows small businesses to deduct the purchase price of qualifying equipment from their gross income in the year it is purchased. This tax break increases savings for business owners in 2023 by allowing them to deduct the price of depreciating equipment all at once rather than incrementally as in other tax years.

Allows business owners to:


Purchase new or used qualifying equipment *


Take 100% of the deduction this year


Improve cash flow for next year

 

 

*The Section 179 Tax Deduction allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. Meaning, if you buy (or lease) a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct 100% of the purchase price from your gross income. You can secure the equipment, tools, and technology you need, while also taking advantage of significant tax deductions – up to $1,080,000. Consult your tax professional for more details.

 

Taxpayers, other than trusts and estates, can claim the section 179 deduction for the cost of most tangible section 1245 property that is bought for use in a business. The benefit of the section 179 deduction is that some or all of a property’s cost can be treated as an expense and recovered in the tax year that the property is placed in service, instead of being capitalized and recovered over time through depreciation deductions.

 

The maximum amount of the section 179 deduction is $1,160,000 for tax years beginning in 2023 and $1,220,000 for tax years beginning in 2024. See table below for earlier years. The limit is inflation-adjusted annually in tax years beginning in 2019 and thereafter.

 

In addition to the dollar limit on the amount of the section 179 deduction, there is a limit on the amount of investment in section 179 property (the “investment limitation”) and a business income limit (the “taxable income” limitation) that may further cap the amount of a taxpayer’s section 179 deduction. For tax years beginning in 2022, the inflation-adjusted limitation is $2,890,000 for 2023 and $3,050,000 for 2024. See table below for earlier years. The limits are adjusted for inflation annually.

 

The dollar limit is reduced by the amount that a taxpayer’s investment in section 179 property during the tax year exceeds the applicable investment limit. A taxpayer’s actual section 179 deduction for the tax year cannot exceed the lesser of the dollar limit taking into account any reduction required by the investment limitation or the taxpayer’s taxable income from the conduct of all of its active trades and businesses.

 

The section 179 deduction is available for the cost of section 179 property, which is most tangible personal property that is bought for use in a business. Section 179 property includes many items typically used in a business, such as machinery and equipment. However, portable air conditioning and heating units do not qualify until tax years beginning after 2015. Off-the-shelf software placed in service in a tax year beginning after 2002 also qualifies for the section 179 deduction. The benefit of the section 179 deduction may be recaptured in a later year if the property is no longer being used predominantly in a trade or business.

 

Most types of real property do not qualify for the section 179 deduction because most real property is section 1250 property . Section 1250 property does not qualify for the section 179 allowance with the important exception that taxpayers can elect to treat qualified real property as section 179 property. For tax years beginning after 2009 before 2018, qualified real property is defined as qualified leasehold improvement property, qualified restaurant property, and qualified retail improvement property. For tax years beginning after 2017, qualified real property is broadly redefined to mean qualified improvement property (i.e., improvements to the interior of nonresidential real property) and also roofs, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning property, fire protection and alarm systems, and security systems installed on such property.


Land improvements can qualify for expensing if they qualify as section 1245 property. Most land improvements, however, are section 1250 property. See Section 179 Property Defined.

 

In addition to determining what constitutes section 179 property, taxpayers also need to determine whether the property was purchased, the cost of the property, and when the property was placed in service in order to compute the section 179 deduction. Taking a section 179 deduction also affects the basis of the property for which the deduction was claimed.

 

The section 179 deduction is subject to many limitations and special rules. Some of these special rules apply to specific types of taxpayers, such as estates and trusts that are ineligible for the section 179 deduction, married taxpayers, noncorporate lessors, controlled groups, and partnerships and S corporations.

 

Taxpayers must keep records for the section 179 deduction that:

 

(1)  specifically identify each piece of qualifying section 179 property;

 

(2)   specify how the property was acquired;

 

(3)   identify the person the property was acquired from; and

 

(4)   indicate when the property was placed in service.

 

Dollar, Investment, and Taxable Income Limits on Code Sec. 179 Expensing Deduction

The section 179 deduction is subject to many restrictions and limitations. The main limitations are:

 

(1)   a dollar limit on the amount of the deduction (dollar limit);

 

(2)   a dollar limit on the amount of investment in section 179 property (investment limit); and

 

(3)   a limit on the deduction based on the taxpayer’s taxable business income (taxable income limit).

 

Taxpayers may elect to expense and take as a current section 179 deduction a limited amount of the cost of qualified tangible business property. As shown in the chart, taxpayers may elect to expense, instead of depreciating, up to the following amounts for the first year the property is placed in service.

 

Tax Years Beginning in: Section 179 Deduction Allowed

 

2024 $1,220,000

2023 $1,160,000

2022 $1,080,000

2021 $1,050,000

2020 $1,040,000

2019 $1,020,000

 2018 $1,000,000

 2017 $510,000

2016 $500,000

2010 – 2015 $500,000

2008 – 2009 $250,000

 

However, in computing the amount of the section 179 deduction, the cost of any sport utility vehicle (SUV) that can be taken into account for any tax year is subject to a limitation that is adjusted annually for inflation. The annual limitations amounts are shown in the chart below.

 

Tax Years Beginning in:  Section 179 Deduction Allowed

 

2024 $30,500

 2023 $28,900

2022 $27,000

2021 $26,200

2020 $25,900

2019 $25,500

2004 – 2018 25,000

 

Investment limit. The dollar limit on the section 179 deduction is reduced (but not below zero) by the amount by which the cost of all the qualified section 179 property a taxpayer places in service during a tax year exceeds a threshold amount, which is adjusted annually for inflation. The threshold amounts are shown in the following chart.

 

Tax Years Beginning in:

 

Investment Limit

 

2024  $3,050,000 (as adjusted for inflation)

 2023 $2,890,000

2022. $2,700,000

2021 $2,620,000

2020 $2,590,000

2019 $2,550,000

2018 $2,500,000

2017 $2,030,000

2016 $2,010,000

2010 – 2015 $2,000,000

2008 – 2009 $800,000

 

State Tax Consequences 

Under section 179, taxpayers may elect to expense in the year acquired, rather than depreciate over time, certain qualified property used in an active trade or business. The expense deduction is limited to a set dollar amount per year and is phased out on a dollar-for-dollar basis once the taxpayer's total investment in qualified depreciable property for the tax year exceeds a threshold amount. Some states require no adjustments to the federal deduction limits, including Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. However, other states require modifications, such as California, Indiana, Florida, New Jersey, New York (with respect to certain SUVs), and Ohio. (Multistate Quick Answer Chart: ¶600-001, Corporate Income Tax Quick Answer Charts: Asset Expense Election – IRC Sec. 179 located under the “Tools” tab above.)

 

Taxable income limitation and carryovers. After applying the dollar limits, the amount that can be deducted is further limited to the amount of taxable income from the active conduct of a trade or business. The portion of the section 179 deduction that exceeds a taxpayer's taxable income from the active conduct of a trade or business and that is disallowed for the tax year may be carried forward to the next succeeding tax year and added to the otherwise deductible amount for that year. Disallowed amounts may be carried forward for an unlimited number of years.

 

For more information, feel free to visit these websites: Section 179 – https://www.section179.org



Section 179 Tax
Section 179 Tax

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