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Flashcards in Asset Basis and Depreciation Deck (42)
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What is the basis of a property?

The value imputed to a property, which is useful for determining how much its value has changed over the time the taxpayer has possessed it (i.e. the holding period)


What is a property's basis usually calculated as?

The cost or FMV of any property given in exchange for it, in addition to expenses related to the purcahse

If the property is received as a matter of income (e.g. a new car as a real estate agent's commission), then its basis must be its FMV, since that is what is included in the person's income


What is a property's adjusted basis?

The original basis of a property adjusted for increases and decreases -- increases due to capital expenditures on it and decreases due to depreciation (or a similar reduction in value)

E.g. if one owns a car and then spends money improving it, then the money spent improving it becomes part of the car's basis


How does a recipient of a gift determine the basis of the gifted property?

If the donor's basis > the property's FMV, then the donee's basis will be determined later, when the property is disposed

Otherwise, the donee's basis simply is the old donor's basis


For gifted property, how is the donee's basis determined upon the property's disposal?

Since this sale requires the donor's basis to exceed the FMV at the time of the gift, three things can happen: the property can sell (1) for less than the FMV, (2) for more than the FMV and the donor's basis, (3) for more than the FMV but less than the donor's basis

Donee's basis for (1) = FMV
(2) = donor's basis
(3) = doesn't matter, since no gain or loss will be recorded


If a donor's basis becomes a donee's basis, how does that affect the donee's holding period?

The donee's holding period is understood to include the donor's holding period too

But if the FMV becomes the donee's basis, then the holding period begins at the time the property was given


How is the basis determined for inherited property?

It is usually the FMV at the date of the decedent's death, but a different date can also be elected: six months after his death

The basis under this latter option is called the "step-up basis"


Under what circumstances is the step-up basis the basis of inherited property?

Only if it decreases the value of the gross estate and the estate tax liability

Exception: if the step-up basis is elected but the property is sold before the six-month date arrives, then its basis is the FMV on the date it was sold


What are different ways in which business property's basis can be reduced?

Depreciation, amortization, depletion, and Section 179 expenses


How are many acquired intangible assets amortized?

Straight-line over 15 years

Applies to goodwill, know-how, licenses, permits, non-competition covenants, franchises, trademarks, going-concern value, etc.

Does NOT apply to self-generated intangibles, interests in a business (e.g. a partnership), interests in land, interests in films or books, etc.


Can acquired computer software be amortized over 15 years?

No, though it can be amortized over 36 months, starting with when it was put into use


What are two ways to account for the depletion of natural resources?

(1) cost depletion = calculates a cost depletion per unit and bases the depletion on the number of units extracted
(2) percentage depletion = based on a percentage of gross income estimated to be taken from the resources

(2) cannot be more than 50% per year


What are the two different means by which assets can generally be depreciated for tax purposes?

(1) straight-line
(2) Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS)

(2) is more common, and it permits taxpayers to deduct a greater amount for depreciation in the asset's earlier years


What kind of property can be depreciated?

Property used for business purposes

Land, inventory, and any property reserved for personal use (e.g. cars or boats) cannot be depreciated


What are the six different MACRS classes for personal property?

3-, 5-, 7-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year items

They each are depreciable over these durations


What are the three different MACRS classes for real property?

15-, 27.5-, and 39-year property

They each are depreciable over these durations


What items are included in the first three MACRS classes for personal property?

(1) 3-year = hogs, race horses over two years old, tractors used over the road
(2) 5-year = cars, light trucks, research equipment, some technological equipment (e.g. computers), farm machinery
(3) 7-year = office furniture and equipment; this category is also a catch-all


What items are included in the last three MACRS classes for personal property?

(4) 10-year = vessels, barges, other equipment for water transportation
(5) 15-year = water treatment plants, assets used to produce cement
(6) 20-year = sewers, farm buildings


What items are included in the three MACRS classes for real property?

(1) 15-year = retail improvements (if done in 2010 or 2011), leasehold improvements, restaurants
(2) 27.5-year = residential rental property (e.g. apartments)
(3) 39-year = nonresidential property (e.g. office buildings) after May 1993


Which depreciation rates do the different MACRS classes of property use?

(i) The first four personal property classes (3, 5, 7, and 10) use double-declining balance but change to SL when that has a greater deduction
(ii) The last two personal property classes (15 and 20) use the 150% declining balance, but also change to SL when it's better
(iii) All real property classes (15, 27.5, and 39) use the SL method


When calculating depreciation deductions under MACRS, how does the salvage value affect the deduction?

It doesn't -- MACRS calculations are not supposed to involve any salvage value


How is double-declining balance (DDB) depreciation calculated?

(2 / useful life) x (cost)


How is 150% declining balance depreciation calculated?

(1.5 / useful life) x (cost)

The same as DDB, except 1.5 replaces 2


What are Section 179 deductions?

Certain property expenditures, rather than being capitalized and then depreciated, can instead be treated (for tax purposes) as expenses

The Section 179 election can be made only during the year the property is put into use -- the point is that the deduction happens all at once rather than being spread out in future years


Which property is generally eligible for the Section 179 deduction?

Personal property which is tangible and depreciable, and purchased for business use, is eligible

This includes software


Which property is excluded from the Section 179 deduction?

(1) A/C or heating units
(2) property used for lodging
(3) property used outside the U.S.


Is absolutely all real property excluded from the Section 179 deduction?

In 2010 and 2011, $250,000 of qualified real property could also be eligible expenditures for the Section 179 deduction

Qualified = leasehold improvements, restaurants, retail improvements


Do just any expenditures on eligible property allow for the Section 179 deduction?

No, the expenditure has to be a PURCHASE of eligible property, not any improvements made to it -- and it must be a purchase from an unrelated party

However, the property need not be new -- it could be used by its former owner before changing hands


How is the Section 179 expense calculated?

For 2013, the max deduction is $500,000, so if a company spends at least that much to purchase eligible property, it can simply deduct that much

This deduction begins to phase out with $2,000,000 of such expenditures, however


Is there anything else to the Section 179 deduction besides the simple deduction?

Yes, if any expenditures remain after the simple deduction ($500k for 2013), and if the expenditure was for new property, then the remaining amount of the expenditure, though it becomes capitalized, can immediately (in 2013) be depreciated 50% in the first year -- in addition to the normal depreciation amount permitted over the asset's useful life

This extra benefit doesn't apply to used property that was purchased