How To Depreciate Commercial Rental Property?

Are you a commercial property owner looking for ways to maximize your tax deductions? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’re going to dive into the topic of how to depreciate commercial rental property and unlock the potential benefits it offers.

Depreciation is a powerful tool that allows you to deduct the cost of your commercial rental property over time, ultimately reducing your taxable income. By spreading out the deduction over the useful life of the property, you can save a significant amount in taxes each year.

But how exactly do you go about depreciating your commercial rental property? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In the following paragraphs, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, providing you with valuable insights and tips along the way. So, let’s get started and uncover the secrets of maximizing your tax advantages through property depreciation!

Remember to consult with a tax professional or accountant to ensure you comply with all applicable tax laws and regulations. Depreciation rules can be complex, and professional advice can help you maximize your tax benefits while staying compliant.

how to depreciate commercial rental property?

How to Depreciate Commercial Rental Property: A Comprehensive Guide

Owning commercial rental property can be a lucrative investment, but it also comes with its fair share of expenses. One of the most significant expenses is the depreciation of the property. Depreciation is a tax deduction that allows you to recover the cost of your investment over time. In this guide, we will explore the ins and outs of how to depreciate commercial rental property and maximize your tax benefits.

Understanding Depreciation and Its Benefits

Depreciation is an accounting method used to allocate the cost of an asset over its useful life. For commercial rental property owners, this means spreading out the cost of the property over several years, which in turn reduces your taxable income. By taking advantage of depreciation, you can lower your tax liability and increase your cash flow.

There are two key benefits to depreciating commercial rental property. First, it allows you to deduct a portion of the property’s value from your taxable income each year. This reduces the amount of tax you owe and can result in significant savings. Second, depreciation can help offset the expenses associated with owning and maintaining the property, such as repairs, renovations, and property management fees.

Calculating Depreciation for Commercial Rental Property

To calculate depreciation for your commercial rental property, you’ll need to determine the property’s cost basis, useful life, and depreciation method. The cost basis is the original purchase price of the property, including any additional costs such as closing costs or renovations. The useful life is the estimated number of years the property will generate income. The depreciation method determines how the cost basis is spread out over the useful life.

The most common depreciation method for commercial rental property is the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). Under MACRS, property owners can choose between two depreciation systems: the General Depreciation System (GDS) and the Alternative Depreciation System (ADS). GDS is the preferred method for most commercial rental properties as it allows for shorter recovery periods and higher depreciation deductions.

Maximizing Depreciation Deductions

While depreciation is a valuable tax deduction, there are ways to maximize your deductions and increase your tax savings even further. Here are a few strategies to consider:

1. Cost Segregation Study: A cost segregation study involves identifying and reclassifying components of a building into shorter recovery periods. This allows you to accelerate the depreciation deductions, resulting in greater tax savings.

2. Bonus Depreciation: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduced bonus depreciation, which allows property owners to deduct a significant portion of the property’s cost in the first year. Taking advantage of bonus depreciation can provide a substantial tax benefit.

3. Repairs vs. Improvements: It’s important to understand the difference between repairs and improvements for tax purposes. Repairs can be deducted in the year they are incurred, while improvements must be depreciated over time. By properly categorizing expenses, you can maximize your immediate deductions.

4. Section 179 Deduction: Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code allows for immediate expensing of certain qualifying property expenses, up to a specified limit. This deduction can provide a substantial upfront tax benefit for commercial rental property owners.

The Importance of Proper Record Keeping

When it comes to depreciating commercial rental property, proper record keeping is crucial. The IRS requires accurate documentation to support your depreciation deductions. This includes records of the property’s purchase price, closing costs, improvements, and any other relevant expenses. It’s also important to maintain records of any changes in the property’s use or value, as these can affect the depreciation calculations.

By keeping detailed records, you can ensure that you are accurately depreciating your commercial rental property and minimizing your tax liability. Consider using accounting software or hiring a professional to help you track and organize your property-related expenses.


Depreciating commercial rental property is a valuable tax strategy that can significantly reduce your tax liability and increase your cash flow. By understanding the depreciation process, maximizing your deductions, and maintaining proper records, you can take full advantage of this tax benefit. Consult with a tax professional or accountant to ensure you are following the appropriate rules and regulations for depreciating your specific commercial rental property. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can make the most of your investment and reap the rewards of depreciation.

Key Takeaways: How to Depreciate Commercial Rental Property?

  • Depreciation is a tax benefit that allows property owners to deduct the cost of their property over time.
  • Commercial rental properties can be depreciated over 39 years using the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS).
  • To calculate depreciation, determine the property’s basis, allocate costs between land and building, and use the appropriate depreciation method.
  • Keep track of any improvements made to the property, as they can also be depreciated separately.
  • Consult with a tax professional to ensure you are following the correct depreciation rules and maximizing your tax benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is depreciation in commercial rental property?

Depreciation is a tax deduction that allows property owners to recover the cost of their commercial rental property over time. It recognizes that assets, such as buildings and improvements, gradually lose value over their useful life. Depreciation can be claimed annually on your tax return, reducing your taxable income and potentially lowering your tax liability.

To calculate depreciation, you need to know the property’s cost, its useful life, and the depreciation method you’ll be using. The most common depreciation method for commercial rental property is the straight-line method, where the cost is divided by the property’s useful life to determine the annual depreciation expense.

Question 2: How can I determine the useful life of my commercial rental property?

Determining the useful life of your commercial rental property is essential for calculating depreciation. The useful life refers to the period over which the property is expected to generate income and be in use. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides guidelines for determining the useful life of different types of assets, including commercial buildings.

For commercial buildings, the IRS typically considers a useful life of 39 years. However, it’s important to note that certain components of the building, such as improvements or equipment, may have different useful lives. It’s recommended to consult with a tax professional or refer to IRS publications for specific guidelines related to your property.

Question 3: Are there any depreciation methods other than straight-line for commercial rental property?

While the straight-line method is the most commonly used depreciation method for commercial rental property, there are other methods available. One alternative method is the accelerated depreciation method, which allows for larger deductions in the early years of ownership.

Accelerated depreciation methods, such as the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS), involve assigning different percentages of the property’s cost to different years of the useful life. This frontloads the depreciation deductions, providing greater tax savings in the earlier years. However, it’s important to consider the potential trade-off of lower deductions in later years.

Question 4: Can I claim depreciation on land associated with my commercial rental property?

No, depreciation cannot be claimed on the land associated with your commercial rental property. Land is considered a non-depreciable asset, as its value is generally expected to appreciate over time. Only the buildings and improvements on the land can be depreciated.

When calculating depreciation, it’s important to allocate the total cost of the property between land and buildings. The land value should be determined separately, as it will not be included in the depreciation calculation.

Question 5: What happens if I sell my commercial rental property before the end of its useful life?

If you sell your commercial rental property before the end of its useful life, you may need to recapture some of the depreciation you previously claimed. This recaptured depreciation is treated as ordinary income and is subject to taxation at your regular income tax rate.

The recapture of depreciation occurs because the depreciation deductions you claimed reduced your basis in the property. When you sell, the sale price may exceed your adjusted basis, resulting in a taxable gain. It’s important to consult with a tax professional to understand the potential tax implications of selling your commercial rental property.

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Final Summary

So there you have it, folks! Depreciating commercial rental property may seem like a daunting task, but with the right knowledge and strategies, you can make the most out of this tax-saving opportunity. By following a few simple steps, you can effectively depreciate your property and reduce your taxable income.

Firstly, it’s crucial to understand the concept of depreciation and how it applies to commercial rental property. This involves determining the useful life of the property and allocating the cost over that period. It’s important to keep accurate records and consult with a tax professional to ensure you’re following the proper guidelines.

Next, you’ll want to identify and categorize the different components of your property that can be depreciated. This includes not just the building itself, but also any improvements, fixtures, and equipment. By properly classifying these assets, you can maximize your depreciation deductions.

Once you have all the necessary information, it’s time to calculate the depreciation expense. This can be done using various methods, such as the straight-line method or the accelerated depreciation method. Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your specific situation.

Remember to stay updated on any changes in tax laws or regulations that may impact the depreciation of commercial rental property. By staying informed and taking advantage of all available deductions, you can significantly reduce your tax burden and maximize your investment returns.

So, don’t let the idea of depreciating

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