Cost segregation is the process of identifying components of your commercial building that can be reclassified from real property to land improvements and tangible personal property.
Personal property includes carpeting, decorative lighting, millwork, specialty electical and plumbing, etc. Land improvements includes landscaping, sidewalks, parking lots, etc.
Ordinarily, the cost of real property is recovered over lengthy time periods using the straight-line method of depreciation. Specifically 27.5 years for residential property and 39 years for nonresidential property. However, personal property is recoverable over considerably shorter periods (for example: 5, 7 or 15 years) and uses accelerated or “front-end loaded” methods of depreciation, such as 200% or 150% declining balance.
When real property is reallocated to personal property, the differences can be huge. For example, installed carpet purchased with your commercial building is considered personal property for depreciation purposes and recovered in a 5 or 7 year period using the 200% declining balance method of depreciation. Otherwise, the carpet would be capitalized and recovered on a straight-line basis over 39 years.
The result of cost segregation is an increase in your current year depreciation expenses that should significantly decrease your income tax liability … bottom line, more money in your pocket … NOW.
Tax-deferral strategies are a great way to minimize taxes, and cost segregation and Internal Revenue Code section 1031 exchanges are two of the most valuable tax-deferral strategies available to commercial real estate owners and investors today.