727·330·3500    ·    Denise Mensa-Cohen, Enrolled Agent    ·    Office Located in Clearwater, Florida
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Farmers and ranchers should be aware of changes in how they depreciate their farming business property. These changes took effect in 2018 as a result of tax reform legislation passed in December 2017.

Depreciation is an annual income tax deduction that allows a taxpayer to recover the cost or other basis of certain property over the time that they use it. When figuring depreciation, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration such as wear and tear and deterioration of the property, as well as whether it is now obsolete.

Here are nine facts about these tax law changes to depreciation that could affect farmers and their bottom line:

1. New farming equipment and machinery is five-year property. For property placed in service after December 31, 2017, the recovery period is shortened from seven to five years for machinery and equipment.

2. The shorter recovery period does not apply to grain bins, cotton ginning equipment, fences, and other land improvements.

3. Used equipment remains seven-year property.

4. Property used in a farming business and placed in service after December 31, 2017, is not required to use the 150-percent declining balance method. Farmers and ranchers must continue to use the 150-percent declining balance method for property that is 15 or 20 years old to which the straight-line method does not apply and for property that the taxpayer elects.

5. New and certain used equipment acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, qualifies for 100 percent first-year bonus depreciation for the tax year in which the property is placed in service.

6. A taxpayer may elect to expense the cost of any section 179 property and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service. The new law increased the maximum deduction from $500,000 to $1 million. It also increased the phase-out threshold from $2 million to $2.5 million. These amounts ($1 million and $2 million) will be adjusted for inflation for taxable years beginning after 2018.

7. The new law increases the bonus depreciation percentage from 50 percent to 100 percent for qualified property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017. The bonus depreciation percentage for qualified property that a taxpayer acquired and placed in service before September 28, 2017, remains at 50 percent. Special rules apply for longer production period property and certain aircraft.

8. The definition of property eligible for 100 percent bonus depreciation was expanded to include used qualified property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, as long as certain requirements are met.

9. Farming businesses that elect out of the interest deduction limit must use the alternative depreciation system to depreciate any property with a recovery period of 10 years or more. This provision applies to tax years starting in 2018 and refers to property such as single purpose agricultural or horticultural structures, trees or vines bearing fruit or nuts, farm buildings, and certain land improvements.

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