How to Accelerate Depreciation on Rental Property

How to Accelerate Depreciation on Rental Property

Owning a rental property can be a great investment, providing you with a steady stream of income and potential tax benefits. One of the most significant tax advantages of owning rental property is the ability to depreciate the property over time. Depreciation allows you to deduct the cost of the property over its useful life, providing you with valuable tax savings. However, the traditional method of depreciation can be slow, taking up to 27.5 years for residential rental properties. Fortunately, there are ways to accelerate depreciation on rental property. In this article, we will explore some strategies to maximize your tax benefits and speed up the depreciation process.

1. Cost Segregation Study:
A cost segregation study is a detailed analysis of a property’s components to identify those that can be depreciated over a shorter period. While buildings are typically depreciated over 27.5 years, components such as appliances, carpets, and landscaping can be depreciated over a shorter lifespan. By conducting a cost segregation study, you can allocate more value to these shorter-lived components, accelerating your depreciation deductions.

2. Bonus Depreciation:
Bonus depreciation is a tax incentive that allows you to deduct a significant percentage of the property’s cost in the year it is placed in service. Under current tax laws, you can deduct 100% of the qualified property’s cost in the year it is acquired. This includes improvements made to the property, such as renovations or additions. By taking advantage of bonus depreciation, you can accelerate a substantial portion of your depreciation deductions.

3. Section 179 Deduction:
The Section 179 deduction is another way to accelerate depreciation on rental property. It allows you to deduct the full cost of qualified personal property in the year it is placed in service, up to a certain limit. This deduction is particularly useful for rental property owners who invest in items like furniture, appliances, or equipment. By utilizing the Section 179 deduction, you can deduct the full cost of these assets immediately, rather than depreciating them over several years.

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4. Partial Year Depreciation:
If you acquire a rental property or place it in service during the middle of the tax year, you can still claim depreciation deductions for that year. Instead of depreciating the property over the full year, you can calculate the depreciation based on the number of months the property was in service. This allows you to accelerate some of the depreciation deductions into the first year of ownership.

5. Repairs vs. Improvements:
When making repairs to your rental property, it’s important to distinguish between repairs and improvements. Repairs, which are necessary to keep the property in good condition, can be deducted in the current year. On the other hand, improvements, which add value or prolong the property’s useful life, must be capitalized and depreciated over time. By properly classifying expenses as repairs, you can deduct them immediately, accelerating your depreciation deductions.


Q: Can I accelerate depreciation on all rental property types?
A: Yes, you can accelerate depreciation on residential and commercial rental properties alike. However, the methods and rules may vary depending on the property type.

Q: How much time and effort does a cost segregation study require?
A: Conducting a cost segregation study can be a complex process that may require the expertise of a professional. However, the potential tax benefits can outweigh the time and effort involved.

Q: Can I benefit from bonus depreciation and the Section 179 deduction at the same time?
A: Yes, you can utilize both bonus depreciation and the Section 179 deduction, as long as you meet the respective criteria for each deduction.

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Q: Can I accelerate depreciation on property that I inherited?
A: Inherited property receives a step-up in basis, which means the depreciation is reset at the fair market value at the time of inheritance. This can provide an opportunity to accelerate depreciation.

Q: Are there any limitations on the amount of depreciation I can deduct?
A: Yes, there are limits on the amount of depreciation you can deduct each year. It’s essential to consult with a tax professional to ensure you are maximizing your deductions within the allowed limits.

In conclusion, accelerating depreciation on rental property can provide significant tax benefits and increase your cash flow. By employing strategies such as cost segregation studies, bonus depreciation, Section 179 deductions, and properly classifying expenses, you can maximize your depreciation deductions and reduce your tax liability. However, it is crucial to seek advice from a qualified tax professional to ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations.

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