Section 179 Deduction

A section 179 deduction can be a tremendous benefit to small and medium size businesses. There are many deductions that you may take on qualifying equipment that you use in your business on a daily basis.

What is the Section 179 Deduction?

Many believe the section 179 deduction is a piece of complicated tax information. Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Service tax code what’s businesses deduct the total purchase price of specific equipment or software used within the tax year. Buying or leasing qualifying equipment allows you to get that the entire purchase price from your gross income.

The section 179 deduction is used as an incentive by the government to encourage a business to purchase equipment and invest in their own business. This deduction used to be referred to as the SUV tax loophole or the Hummer deduction. A lot of businesses use this tax code to write off these as qualifying vehicles.

This benefit has been significantly reduced recently. You can see the vehicles in section 179 for the limits on vehicles that can be used for business.

In all of the recent sections of a Stimulus bill, section 179 is one that actually can assist a small business. Big businesses can benefit from section 179, but the original target was for small business tax relief. Over 1 million small businesses are taking advantage and seeing significant benefit.

This code allows you to buy property such as machines, equipment, or vehicles for business use. It will allow you to get tax deductions for the purchase and use of these items. These deductions are meant to offset depreciation.

One advantage is that the deductions will save you money on your tax return for your business. Also, you can take larger deductions in the first year when you purchased and begin using your property.

For the current tax year, you may deduct the full purchase price of any financed or leased equipment or software that can be used for the deduction. This equipmentshould be within a certain dollar limit listed in section 179. The equipment has to be placed in service during the same year that the deduction is taken.

How Section 179 Works:

After your business purchases certain types of equipment, you will be allowed to write them off a little at a time via depreciation. This is better than no write off at all. Many business owners like to write off the entire purchase price for the year it is bought.

The purpose of section 179 is to encourage the economy and your business to move in a more lucrative direction. If a business were allowed to write off the whole amount, it makes sense that more equipment will be added within a year rather than waiting a few years.

In the 2017 tax year, most small businesses can write off up to $500,000. Section 179 of the IRS service code was started to assist small businesses by letting them take a deduction for depreciation for certain expenditures. This is more beneficial than allowing the items to depreciate over a long period of time.

Taking a business deduction on a piece of equipment or other assets within the first year is called a section 179 deduction. There is a benefit to taking a full deduction for the item immediately instead of spreading out the deduction over the life of the equipment.

There are two requirements from the IRS:

  • The qualified property has to be tangible and depreciable personal property that is used for business. Land and buildings are not considered qualified property. Other property such as vehicles will qualify.
  • The property has to be bought and used in the year you claim the deduction. You will need to put the equipment into service and have it working for your business. Purchasing property without using it does not qualify.

Limits of Section 179

The deduction will start phasing out after $2 million is spent by a business. This is what qualifies it as a small and medium size business deduction. 2015, the United States Congress increased the amount of money for section 179 deductions. The limit is permanently set at $500,000.

There are limits each year on the amount of section 179 deduction is a business may take. The annual limits for 2016 are $500,000. This is the maximum for all individual items new and used.

Your business may spend up to $2 million on section 179 equipment. However, your deduction will be reduced above that amount. If only a part of your cost is deducted, you are allowed to depreciate any costs that are not deducted.

The section 179 deduction is still affected by the PATH Act that was signed into thousand 15. This is the bill that changes the deduction limit to $500,000.

Any business that spends more than $2 million in purchases for qualifying equipment will have the section 179 deduction phased out. The cap for section 179 will be indexed to inflation by $10,000 increments in the future.

A 50 percent bonus depreciation is extended for the year 2019. Businesses of any size will be allowed to depreciate half of the cost of equipment purchased and used in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

The section 179 deduction will provide you with major tax relief for 2017. However, all equipment and any software must be purchased or financed by midnight Dec. 31, 2017.

Bonus Depreciation: 50 percent for 2017

Bonus depreciation is taken after section 179 reaches a spending cap. The bonus depreciation is available for new equipment only. If you buy any used equipment, it qualifies for section 179 deduction but will not qualify for a bonus depreciation.

What's the difference between Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation?

One major difference is the bonus depreciation is only offered in some years, and other years it is not offered. Currently 2017, it is being offered at 50 percent. The most significant difference is that both new and used equipment can qualify for the section 179 deduction. The used equipment must be new to you. Bonus depreciation will only cover new equipment.

The bonus depreciation is helpful for large businesses spending over the spending cap for section 179 on new equipment. This means they spend more than $2 million in one year.

Any business with a loss is still allowed to deduct some of the cost of new equipment and carry the lost forward. When applying for these provisions, section 179 is typically used first. It is then followed by bonus depreciation. The only caveat is for businesses that had no taxable profit due to unprofitable year. You can carry the loss forward to future tax years.

Section 179's "More Than 50 Percent Business-Use" Requirement

To qualify for the section 179 deduction, all equipment, software, or vehicles have to be used for business purposes over 50 percent of the time. To get this figure, multiply the cost of the equipment by the percentage of business use. This will give you the amount that you are eligible to use for a section 179 deduction.

Who Qualifies for Section 179?

To qualify for section 179: 

  • the business has to purchase, finance, or lease less than $2 million in new and used a business equipment in a tax year
  • items such as cars and software are eligible
  • the equipment and software has to be purchased or financed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of 2017 

Typically, most any piece of tangible business equipment will qualify.

How to Elect a Section 179 Deduction

The IRS service form 4562 is used to report information for the section 179 deduction. This form is used to collect information on your business property that you purchased and use in your business.

For assistance, ask your tax preparer to help you with your section 179 deduction election.

Did the Stimulus Acts have an impact Section 179?

Over time, the section 179 limits have increased in fallen. Congress has made businesses wait prior to increasing it with different stimulus acts over the years. In 2015, when the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 increased section 179 $500,000, it made deduction permanent.

The stimulus acts also reintroduced the 50 percent bonus depreciation for new purchases for section 179.

Can I Lease (or Finance) Equipment and Take the Section 179 Deduction?

You may lease equipment while taking the section 179 deduction. This can be a very useful way to use the deduction. The amount deducted can exceed the total payments that you made for the year for the business equipment.

How Do I Know if the Property I Am Purchasing or Leasing Qualifies for the Section 179 Deduction?

It is a quite simple answer. Most all equipment that is used by a business that is purchased or leased will qualify for the section 179 deduction with in the tax year.

What is the Deduction Limit for Section 179 Deductions?

The limit for deductions for section 179 will depend on the year.

Can I Buy or Lease a Vehicle and Take the Section 179 Deduction?

In general, you are allowed to purchase or lease a vehicle and take the section 179 deduction. However, it will depend on the type of vehicle you purchase. It must not have a gross weight greater than 6000 pounds.

Does the Amount of Equipment I Purchase and Lease in Any One Year Matter?

Any amount you pay for equipment cannot be higher than that year’s spending cap. This is what makes the section 179 deduction a true small business benefit.

Does the Date of My Purchase Have an Impact on the Section 179 Deduction?

In order to be eligible for the section 179 deduction in a tax year, the property has to be bought or leased and used at the business between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 in the given year.

Does the Geographic Area my Business Operates in Make Any Difference in the Section 179 Deduction?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, there are different parts of the country known as special zones that will be eligible for a larger section 179 deduction. The zones identified by the IRS include the New York Liberty Zone, the Gulf Opportunity Zone, and the Special Enterprise and Renewal Community Business areas.

How Much Can I Save on My Taxes in 2017?

Your savings on taxes in the year 2017 will depend on how much you spend on qualifying equipment and that you buy and put into use at your business.

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