Confused about depreciation? What is Section 179 Expense?


Typically, if property for business has a useful life of more than one year, the cost must be spread across several tax years as depreciation with a portion of the cost deducted each year.

But there is a way to immediately receive these income tax benefits in one tax year. The provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 179 allow a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation to fully expense tangible property in the year it is purchased.

And tax-law changes over the past few years have made this option much more appealing by dramatically increasing the amount that can be written off immediately. Changes first made in 2003 and then extended in 2006, mean that businesses can write off more of their capital expenditures through 2009.

Enhanced section 179 expensing now is at the base level of $100,000 with that level indexed for inflation for the last several years. This is four times more than the previous-law limit of $25,000. In addition, the investment limitation also has been increased to more than $400,000 and it, too, is indexed for inflation.

These changes mean that in 2006, a business can expense $108,000 in capital expenditures up to an overall investment limit of $430,000.