New COVID-19 law makes favorable changes to “qualified improvement property"

A law providing relief due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis contains a valuable change in the tax rules for improvements to interior parts of nonresidential buildings. You may recall that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, any qualified improvement property (QIP) placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017 wasn’t eligible for 100% bonus depreciation. The cost had to be deducted over 39 years rather th an entirely in the year the QIP was placed in service. This was due to a drafting error by Congress. But the new CARES Act now allows most businesses to claim 100% bonus depreciation for QIP as long as requirements are met. The correction is retroactive to QIP placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

It now allows most businesses to claim 100% bonus depreciation for QIP, as long as certain other requirements are met. What’s also helpful is that the correction is retroactive and it goes back to apply to any QIP placed in service after December 31, 2017. Unfortunately, improvements related to the enlargement of a building, any elevator or escalator, or the internal structural framework continue to not qualify under the definition of QIP.

In the current business climate, you may not be in a position to undertake new capital expenditures — even if they’re needed as a practical matter and even if the substitution of 100% bonus depreciation for a 39-year depreciation period significantly lowers the true cost of QIP. But it’s good to know that when you’re ready to undertake qualifying improvements that 100% bonus depreciation will be available. And, the retroactive nature of the CARES Act provision presents favorable opportunities for qualifying expenditures you’ve already made. We can revisit and add to documentation that you’ve already provided to identify QIP expenditures.

For not-yet-filed tax returns, we can simply reflect the favorable treatment for QIP on the return. If you’ve already filed returns that didn’t claim 100% bonus depreciation for what might be QIP, we can investigate based on available documentation as discussed above. We will evaluate what your options are under Revenue Procedure 2020-25, which was just released by the IRS. If you have any questions about how you can take advantage of the QIP provision, don’t hesitate to contact us. © 2020

339 West Governor Road, Suite 202, Hershey, PA 17033
Phone: (717) 533-5154  •  Toll-Free (888) 277-1040