What is a Section 179 deduction?
Instead of depreciating an asset over a multi-year period, you might be able to deduct its entire cost during the first year of use. This is called a Section 179 deduction, also (erroneously) called Section 179 depreciation. Think of it as instant gratification when it comes to deducting the cost of a newly-purchased business asset.
To qualify for a Section 179 deduction, the asset must be:
- Tangible (you're able to touch it, which excludes intangible assets like patents or copyrights);
- Purchased (not leased) for business use;
- Used more than 50% in your business;
- Placed in service (i.e., purchased, acquired, or converted to business use) during the current tax year; and
- Acquired from a non-related party.
The Section 179 deduction cannot be claimed for business assets that were acquired in a tax-free exchange or from a person or entity with whom you share a close relationship as specified by the IRS.
You can't claim a Section 179 deduction for more than $500,000 in qualified assets ($535,000 for qualified enterprise zone or renewal community property assets). The deduction is reduced if the total of all Section 179 assets you placed in service during the tax year exceeds $2,010,000.
Your Section 179 deduction amount cannot exceed your net business income for the year, but if it does, you can carry the excess over to a future tax year.
Finally, you must retain business use of the asset until the end of its useful life. If that's not possible, you must pay back part of the deduction as a Section 179 recapture.