Extension Means Businesses Can Take Bonus Depreciation on Their 2015 Returns – But Should They?

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01 Feb Extension Means Businesses Can Take Bonus Depreciation on Their 2015 Returns – But Should They?

Bonus depreciation allows businesses to recover the costs of depreciable property more quickly by claiming additional first-year depreciation for qualified assets. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act) extended 50 percent bonus depreciation through 2017.

The break had expired December 31, 2014, for most assets. So the PATH Act may give you a tax-saving opportunity for 2015 you would not otherwise have had. Many businesses will benefit from claiming this break on their 2015 returns. But, you might save more tax in the long run if you forgo it.

What assets are eligible?

For 2015, new tangible property with a recovery period of 20 years or less (such as office furniture and equipment) qualifies for bonus depreciation. So does off-the-shelf computer software, water utility property, and qualified leasehold-improvement property.

Acquiring the property in 2015 is not enough, however. You also must have placed the property in service in 2015.

Should you or or not?

If you are eligible for bonus depreciation and you expect to be in the same or a lower tax bracket in future years, taking bonus depreciation (to the extent you have exhausted any Section 179 expensing available to you) is likely a good tax strategy. It will defer tax, which generally is beneficial.

But if your business is growing and you expect to be in a higher tax bracket in the near future, you may be better off forgoing bonus depreciation. Why? Even though you will pay more tax for 2015, you will preserve larger depreciation deductions on the property for future years, when they may be more powerful — deductions save more tax when you are in a higher bracket.

We can help

If you are unsure whether you should take bonus depreciation on your 2015 return — or you have questions about other depreciation-related breaks, such as Sec. 179 expensing — contact us.