The #1 Lie About Cost Segregation

Cost Segregation - Property Tax Mitigation

(Re-post from GMG Blog)

Cost Segregation Can’t Be Used On Older Buildings

It is impossible for me to calculate the number of calls I’ve had with building owners and CPAs on the subject of Cost Segregation. Working some numbers in my head (ok, on my calculator), the number is likely well over 10,000. Out of all those calls there is one particular item that continues to rear its ugly, uninformed head and I can no longer stay silent. I must respond… with vigor!

The “item” in question comes in the form of the following quote, which I’ve heard too often to count:

“You can only do Cost Segregation on a new building or new renovation.”

I have no idea where this rumor started. I hear it weekly and now I am blogging in rebuttal.

First, I will say an unequivocal “Yes”, it is beneficial to have a Cost Segregation study done when you purchase/construct/renovate a new building. In fact, anyone constructing or renovating a commercial property should have a study completed. However, the true power of Cost Segregation is displayed on buildings that are not new!

“But, you can only do Cost Segregation on a new building or new renovation”.

To officially rebut this statement, I will go straight to the source. The first sentence in the IRS Cost Segregation Audit Techniques Guide – Chapter 6.2 reads:

“A taxpayer may conduct a cost segregation study on used property and then recompute its depreciation deductions for prior years”

Not only “may” a taxpayer do this but over 75% of our projects are older properties. In the industry we call this the “Catch Up” method, and it can produce powerful results.

Here is an example:

Mr. Client acquires a commercial property for $3,500,000 five years ago and never completed a Cost Segregation Study.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Mr. Client recognizes he may now have an opportunity to benefit from a study (maybe he read this blog post).

Mr. Client hires an expert (GMG for example), who identifies 20% ($700,000) of components that should have been allocated to 5-year life instead of 39 years. Mr. Client jumps for joy when he realizes the IRS will allow him to “catch up” $700,000 of missed accelerated depreciation on his next tax return!

Why doesn’t every building owner and CPA know this?

The answer is simple; it is not their area of expertise. Although some building owners and CPAs have substantial experience with Cost Segregation, most do not. There is a dearth of true educators in this field, which unfortunately leads to much misinformation. These factors have caused countless thousands of building owners to miss out on this powerful tax savings strategy.

All is not lost!

If you own a building and have not had a Cost Segregation study performed, you have not missed the boat. Hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars in tax savings may be available to you. Now that you are aware, let’s see how much you qualify for!

Contact Us today for more information

9 out of 10 Commercial Property Investors are Overpaying on Income Taxes

cost segregation study - ascend revenue

Cash flow generated over a five-year period, assuming a 40% tax bracket and an 6% discount rate.

Year after year, the Federal Government has continued to incentivize those who invest in Commercial Property. The IRS has established guidelines that, if ignored, cause commercial real estate investors to pay more in taxes than they should.

What guidelines are being ignored by Commercial Property Investors?
Those revolving around Accelerated Depreciation; known in the taxation world as Property Cost Segregation.

Ramifications of Improper Depreciation Allocation

Most commercial property investors do not truly understand the substantial benefits of accelerated depreciation. This is evidenced by our analysis of thousands of depreciation schedules over the years. We have found less than 10% of investors are properly depreciating their properties. The most common misconception is, “I am going to get this money anyway”. Is this a true or false statement?

Let’s investigate…

Capital Gains vs Ordinary Income Rates
Although the mechanics of these calculations are not always as simplistic as we will be making it for this example, the short response is – increased depreciation leads to paying taxes at the capital gains rate as opposed to the ordinary income rate. Since capital gains rates are likely much lower than the Investor’s income tax rate, they would benefit from accelerated depreciation.

Time Value of Money
Simply put, your dollar is worth more today than it will be in the future. A tax dollar saved today therefore is worth more than a tax dollar saved in the future. Why lock up a tax savings in your property for 27-39 years when you can receive it today?

Catch-Up Depreciation
If you have not completed a Cost Segregation study on your property that you have held for a period of time, did you know that you can capture your entire missed benefit immediately? The IRS allows you to complete a 481 adjustment thus enabling you to catch up all the missed accelerated depreciation into the current tax year. This provision alone could save you hundreds of thousands immediately!

The Power of Cash in hand
You are a real estate “investor”. This means you understand the investing power of having funds in your hand today. Cash today [in the form of tax savings] enables you to invest in additional properties. The benefits of this are exponential and allow continued growth of your investment portfolio.

Correct allocation of real estate depreciation is essential for Commercial Property Investors to effectively manage their tax situation. Are you one of the 90% who are missing out on opportunities that 10% of your competitors are capturing?

Note: Ascend Revenue is a Master Agency for Growth Management Group and Stryde Solutions, the leaders in tax mitigation and specialized tax credits and incentives.  For a free analysis of your property depreciation schedules, contact us at info@ascendrevenue.com