The Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation Expensing Allowances

The Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation Expensing Allowances : Current Law and Issues for the 114th Congress

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Expensing is the most accelerated form of depreciation for tax purposes. Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code allows a taxpayer to expense (or deduct as a current expense rather than as a capital expense) up to $25,000 of the total cost of new and used qualified depreciable assets it buys and places in service in 2015, within certain limits. Firms unable to take advantage of this allowance may recover the cost of qualified assets over longer periods, using the appropriate depreciation schedules from Sections 167 or 168. While the Section 179 expensing allowance is not targeted at small firms, the limits on its use effectively confine its benefits to such firms. In addition, Section 168(k), which provides a so-called bonus depreciation allowance, has allowed taxpayers to expense a portion of the cost of qualified assets bought and placed in service in recent tax years. Taxpayers that could claim the allowance had the option of monetizing any unused alternative minimum tax credits left over from tax years before 2006, within certain limits, and recovering the cost of the assets that qualified for the allowance over longer periods. The allowance expired at the end of 2014. Since 2002, the two allowances have been used primarily as tax incentives for stimulating the U.S. economy. Though there appear to be no studies that address the economic effects of the enhanced Section 179 allowances that were available from 2003 to 2014, several studies have examined the economic effects of the 30% and 50% bonus depreciation allowances from 2002 to 2004. Their findings indicated that accelerated depreciation is a relatively ineffective tool for stimulating the overall economy during periods of weak or negative growth. Available evidence also suggests that the expensing allowances may have a minor effect at best on the level and composition of business investment and its allocation among industries, the distribution of the federal tax burden among different income groups, and the cost of tax compliance for smaller firms. The allowances have advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, an expensing allowance simplifies tax accounting, and a temporary allowance has the potential to stimulate increased small business investment in favored assets in the short run by reducing the user cost of capital and increasing the cash flow of investing firms. On the other hand, depending on its design, an expensing allowance may interfere with the efficient allocation of capital among investment opportunities by diverting capital away from more productive more

Product details

  • Paperback | 24 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 1.52mm | 113.4g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508604622
  • 9781508604624