New Tax Law Allows Small Businesses to Expense More, Expands Bonus Depreciation

In a November 15 news release, the IRS reminded small business taxpayers that changes to the tax law per the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) mean they can immediately expense more of the cost of certain business property. Many are now able to write off most depreciable assets in the year they are placed into service.

Section 179 expensing changes

A taxpayer may elect to expense all or part of 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. These changes apply to property placed in service in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and will most likely affect 2018 business tax returns filed next year.

See New rules and limitations for depreciation and expensing under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for more information.

New 100 percent, first-year ‘bonus’ depreciation

The 100 percent depreciation deduction generally applies to depreciable business assets with a recovery period of 20 years or less and certain other property. Machinery, equipment, computers, appliances and furniture generally qualify. The law also allows expensing for certain film, television, and live theatrical productions, and used qualified property with certain restrictions.

See the proposed regulations for more details.

Taxpayers may elect out of the additional first-year depreciation for the taxable year the property is placed in service. If the election is made, it applies to all qualified property that is in the same class of property and placed in service by the taxpayer in the same taxable year. The instructions for Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, provide details.

Business owners can refer to the Tax Reform Provisions that Affect Businesses page for updates.

More resources:

Publication 535, Business Expenses
Publication 946, How to Depreciate Property
Additional First Year Depreciation Deduction (Bonus) FAQs
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A Comparison for Businesses