Reduce Your Tax Bill Through Capital Investment

Leveraging the tax law

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, enhances tax-deduction strategies for companies considering capital investments. Companies can take advantage of the law's provisions regarding bonus depreciation and the application of Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code.

If you like the idea of whittling down your company's tax bill and you have equipment purchases in mind, there's still time before year-end to take advantage of enhanced tax-deduction opportunities. But the clock is ticking.

Bonus depreciation

The tax law increased the allowable bonus depreciation percentage from 50% to 100% for qualified property acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2023.

Until this provision sunsets, companies can write off the full cost of qualified capital assets as an expense in the year in which they are acquired and placed into service. What's more, there are no limitations as to the value of eligible equipment that qualifies for a 100% deduction for the taxpayer.

Generally, property with a depreciable recovery period of 20 years or less is eligible for tax bonus depreciation. Used property is now also eligible.

For those who plan to take advantage of bonus depreciation, the savings can be impressive. For example, a company with $1 million in taxable income that purchases $500,000 of qualifying equipment could see potential savings of $105,000 on its tax bill.

Section 179

A second potential avenue for taxpayers to immediately write off the cost of an acquired capitalized asset is afforded by Section 179 of the tax code. This provision allows a business to deduct, for the current tax year, the full purchase price of equipment and off-the-shelf software that qualifies for the deduction.

Before the tax law was enacted, Section 179 limited immediate expensing to a maximum deduction of $500,000, with the balance being subject to depreciation. Section 179 allows for immediate expensing of up to $1 million of qualified property placed in service in taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017.

However, the $1 million limit on the deduction starts shrinking once a company puts more than $2.5 million in qualified property into service.

The lack of a maximum dollar amount for bonus depreciation, in contrast with the phase-out provision of Section 179, is expected to make bonus depreciation a popular tax-deduction strategy for the foreseeable future, particularly for larger companies.

Even so, Section 179 remains an important tax-deduction option in cases where assets are not eligible for bonus depreciation.

The need for timely planning

If you have a capital equipment need and want to use either of these enhanced tax-deduction strategies to lower your company’s tax bill for the current year, you will need to develop a plan and make your capital investment by Dec. 31.

To verify the benefits of bonus depreciation or Section 179, consult with your tax advisor or accountant. Your banker can also provide counsel on related equipment finance strategies.

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The information and figures contained in this document are samples for discussion purposes only and may not be applicable to your business. To verify the benefits of Section 179 or Bonus Depreciation, please consult with your tax advisor or accountant before engaging in the purchase or acquisition of equipment in which the benefits of Section 179 or Bonus Depreciation are a major factor in your decision.

BB&T and its representatives do not offer tax advice. The information provided should not be considered tax or legal advice. Please consult with your individual tax advisor/or attorney regarding your individual circumstances.

Branch Banking and Trust Company, Member FDIC.