Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cost Segregation by Grant Keppel

By: Grant Keppel

Grant G. Keppel, CPA, is a nationally known Cost Segregation practitioner with over 23 years experience as a CPA and consultant. Over the last 10 years he has developed and completed over 3,500 cost segregation consulting projects.

"We have all have heard the old vantage a dollar is worth more today than 30 years from now, well for commercial real estate owners this concept is still well in play with a tax planning technique known as cost segregation. Cost Segregation is a tax and engineering based study for commercial real estate purchased or constructed in the last 15 years in which the IRS allows certain assets to be more rapidly depreciated for tax purposes, thus, affording owners/investors access to their cash flow today versus waiting for the whole life cycle of the real estate of 39 years for non-residential real estate to recoup their investment. Typically on an acquisition an owner of commercial real estate will set up the asset purchased on their tax depreciation schedule over the standard 39-year depreciable life (less land which is non-depreciable), but with a cost segregation study many assets can be segregated an depreciated over say 15, 7 or 5-year lives. Depending on industry type the benefits can vary but take the example of a single tenant retail property acquired in 2013 for $5 million (excluding land). The first year depreciation without a cost segregation study would be approximately $125,000, while that same deprecation with a formal engineer based study would be almost double to $250,000. Taking it out three more years the additional depreciation would net the owner/investor approximately $450,000 in additional depreciation write-offs.

        Too good to be true? Not according to the IRS who has issued many rulings and Audit Technique Guidelines to follow to perform these studies in conformity within the tax regulations. Whether it be the exterior sprinkler systems, the parking lot lighting to the specialized plumbing or decorative lighting, there are many hidden assets buried within the interior and exterior of any commercial real estate that can be depreciated over a much shorter time frame than the customary 39 year period.

        For those of you saying well I just filed my taxes and wish I knew about this before I filed for 2012. Well there is even better news as the IRS has issued a Revenue Procedure that allows you to go back in time (without the need the amend previous filed tax returns) and perform a cost segregation study and catch-up the correctly depreciation on the current years’ tax return 100% as an additional depreciation deduction. And for those who have their taxes or will have their taxes on extension, a study can still be performed and completed prior to filing the extended tax returns.

        Take the example of a class “A” office building acquired in 2005 for $3 million (exclusive of land), after adjusting the depreciation as a result of the cost segregation study, the 2012 additional depreciation amounted to approximately $375,000. This will be a direct offset to income generated by the property to mitigate any federal and state income taxes (depending on the state)."

Grant Keppel, CPA
Managing Member
Grant Keppel, LLC

1890 Copperstone Drive, Unit D
Orange Park, FL  32003
Cell: 904.662.2514

Grant Keppel Bio:

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