The IRS has adopted previously issued proposed regulations ( REG-106808-19) dealing with the 100 percent bonus depreciation deduction. In addition, some clarifying changes have been made to previously issued final regulations ( T.D. 9874). Changes to the proposed and earlier final regulations are largely in response to various comments submitted by practitioners, and generally relate to:
- the definition of qualified used property;
- the election to claim bonus depreciation on components acquired or self-constructed after September 27, 2017, for larger self-constructed property for which manufacture, construction, or production began before September 28, 2017;
- application of the mid-quarter convention;
- clarifications to the definition of qualified improvement property, predecessor, and class of property; and
- clarifications to the rules for consolidated groups
The rules for consolidated groups have also been moved from Proposed Reg. §1.168(k)-2(b)(3)(v) to new Reg. §1.1502-68.
The 2019 final regulations provide that in determining whether the taxpayer or a predecessor had a depreciation interest in property prior to its acquisition, only the five calendar years immediately prior to the current placed-in-service year are considered. The latest IRS regulations clarify that the five calendar years immediately prior to the current calendar year in which the property is placed in service by the taxpayer, and the portion of such current calendar year before the placed-in-service date of the property without taking into account the applicable convention, are taken into account. In addition, the five-year look-back period applies separately to the taxpayer and a predecessor.
Furthermore, if the taxpayer or a predecessor, or both, have not been in existence during the entire look-back period, then only the portion of the look-back period during which the taxpayer or a predecessor, or both, have been in existence is taken into account.
Expanded Component Election
The prior regulations allow taxpayers to election to claim 100 percent bonus depreciation on components of certain larger constructed property that qualifies for bonus depreciation if the construction of the larger property began before September 28, 2017. The components must be acquired or constructed after September 27, 2017, and the larger property must be placed in service before 2020 (2021 in the case of property with a longer construction period). The final regulations remove the 2020/2021 cutoff date. In addition, the final regulations provide that eligible larger self-constructed property also includes property that is constructed for a taxpayer under a written contract that is not binding and that is entered into prior to construction for use in the taxpayer’s trade or business. The definition of a larger constructed property is also clarified.
Qualified Improvement Property
The 15-year recovery period for qualified improvement property applies only to improvements “made by the taxpayer.” The final regulations clarify that an improvement is considered made by a taxpayer if the property is constructed for the taxpayer. However, qualified improvement property received by a transferee taxpayer in a nonrecognition transaction described in Code Sec. 168(i)(7) is not eligible for bonus depreciation.
The final regulations clarify that depreciable basis is not reduced by the amount of bonus deduction in determining whether the mid-quarter convention applies.
Generally, property acquired pursuant to a binding contract entered into after September 27, 2017, does not qualify for bonus depreciation at the 100 percent rate. The final regulations clarify that a contract for a sale of stock of a corporation that is treated as an asset sale as the result of a Code Sec. 336(e) election made for a disposition described in Reg. §1.336-2(b)(1) is a binding contract if enforceable under state law.
Floor Plan Financing
The IRS intends to issue guidance relating to transition relief for taxpayers with a trade or business with floor plan financing indebtedness that want to revoke elections not to claim bonus depreciation for property placed in service during 2018.
The IRS will not allow a taxpayer to limit the amount of its otherwise deductible floor plan interest in order to qualify for bonus depreciation. However, guidance will address transition relief for the 2018 tax year for taxpayers that treated Code Sec. 168(j)(1) as providing an option for a business with floor plan financing indebtedness to include or exclude its floor plan financing interest expense in determining the amount allowed as a deduction for business interest expense for the tax year.
In general, the regulations apply to property acquired after September 27, 2017, and placed in service during or after a tax years that begins on or after January 1, 2021. However, they may be relied on for earlier tax years.