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  • Writer's pictureMartha Yasso

Understanding Depreciation and Making the Most of It

As a business owner in the United States, understanding how to make the most of your business expenses is crucial for maximizing profitability. One important aspect to consider is depreciation.


Depreciation is the process of deducting the cost of business assets over their useful life. Properly utilizing depreciation can help reduce your tax liability and increase your bottom line. In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about depreciation and how to make the most of it.


What Is Depreciation?


Depreciation is an accounting method that allows businesses to spread the cost of an asset over its useful life. It accounts for wear and tear, obsolescence, and other factors that reduce the value of an asset over time.


Depreciation is a non-cash expense that doesn’t involve any actual cash outlay. Instead, it is a bookkeeping entry that reduces the asset's value on the balance sheet.


This method can be calculated using various ways, such as straight-line, accelerated, or production units. The straight-line method is the simplest and most commonly used. It involves dividing the asset's cost by its useful life and deducting an equal amount each year.


The accelerated method allows for higher deductions in the early years of the asset’s life and lower deductions in later years. The units of production method bases depreciation on the asset’s usage or output.


Why Is Depreciation Important?


Depreciation is necessary because it allows businesses to deduct the cost of assets over their useful life rather than all at once. This helps reduce taxable income and lower the amount of tax owed. The lower tax liability can be reinvested into the business, used to pay down debt, or distributed to shareholders.


In addition to tax benefits, depreciation helps businesses accurately report their financial position. Assets that are not correctly depreciated can overstate the company's value, making it appear more profitable than it actually is. Accurate depreciation also helps businesses decide when to replace or upgrade assets.


What Assets Can Be Depreciated?


Not all assets can be depreciated. In general, assets must meet three criteria to be eligible for depreciation:


  • The asset must be used in the business or to produce income.

  • The asset must have a determinable useful life.

  • The asset must be expected to last more than one year.


Common assets that can be depreciated include buildings, vehicles, machinery, equipment, and furniture. Land, inventory, and intangible assets such as patents and trademarks cannot be depreciated.


How to Make the Most of Depreciation


To make the most of depreciation, it’s essential to understand the tax rules and regulations. Here are some tips for maximizing depreciation:


1. Take Advantage of Bonus Depreciation


Bonus depreciation is a tax incentive that allows businesses to deduct a significant portion of the cost of new assets in the year they are placed in service. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 increased the bonus depreciation rate to 100% for qualified property placed in service between September 27, 2017, and December 31, 2022. This means businesses can deduct the entire cost of eligible assets in the first year rather than spreading it out over several years.


2. Consider the Section 179 Deduction


The Section 179 deduction allows businesses to deduct the total cost of qualifying assets in the year they are purchased or financed up to a certain limit. For 2021, the deduction limit is $1.05 million, and the total amount of equipment purchased cannot exceed $2.62 million. This deduction can be used for both new and used assets.


3. Keep Accurate Records


Accurate record-keeping is essential for properly depreciating assets. Businesses should maintain detailed records of the purchase price, date of purchase, useful life, and depreciation method used for each asset. This information is necessary for calculating depreciation deductions and completing tax returns.


4. Consider the Impact of State Taxes


Each state has its tax laws and regulations regarding depreciation. Some states conform to federal tax laws, while others have their own rules. It’s essential to consult with a tax professional to understand the impact of state taxes on depreciation deductions.


Conclusion


Depreciation is an essential tool for maximizing business profitability and reducing tax liability. By properly depreciating assets, businesses can accurately report their financial position, make informed decisions about asset replacement, and take advantage of tax incentives. To make the most of depreciation, it’s essential to understand the tax rules and regulations and keep accurate records. By following these tips, businesses can take advantage of this valuable tax strategy and increase their bottom line.


Work with Yasso Bookkeeping Solutions for top-notch bookkeeping in New York City. Our team of experienced professionals can help you navigate the complexities of depreciation and other tax strategies to optimize your financial position. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your business succeed.

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