Words you may need to know (see Glossary)
- Intangible property
- Remainder interest
- Term interest
Certain property cannot be depreciated. This includes land and certain excepted property.taxmap/pubs/p946-002.htm#en_us_publink1000107320
You cannot depreciate the cost of land because land does not wear out, become obsolete, or get used up. The cost of land generally includes the cost of clearing, grading, planting, and landscaping.
Although you cannot depreciate land, you can depreciate certain land preparation costs, such as landscaping costs, incurred in preparing land for business use. These costs must be so closely associated with other depreciable property that you can determine a life for them along with the life of the associated property. taxmap/pubs/p946-002.htm#en_us_publink1000107321
You constructed a new building for use in your business and paid for grading, clearing, seeding, and planting bushes and trees. Some of the bushes and trees were planted right next to the building, while others were planted around the outer border of the lot. If you replace the building, you would have to destroy the bushes and trees right next to it. These bushes and trees are closely associated with the building, so they have a determinable useful life. Therefore, you can depreciate them. Add your other land preparation costs to the basis of your land because they have no determinable life and you cannot depreciate them. taxmap/pubs/p946-002.htm#en_us_publink1000107322
Even if the requirements explained in the preceding discussions are met, you cannot depreciate the following property.
- Property placed in service and disposed of in the same year. Determining when property is placed in service is explained later.
- Equipment used to build capital improvements. You must add otherwise allowable depreciation on the equipment during the period of construction to the basis of your improvements. See Uniform Capitalization Rules in Publication 551.
- Section 197 intangibles. You must amortize these costs. Section 197 intangibles are discussed in detail in Chapter 8 of Publication 535. Intangible property, such as certain computer software, that is not section 197 intangible property, can be depreciated if it meets certain requirements. See Intangible Property on page 10.
- Certain term interests.
You cannot depreciate a term interest in property created or acquired after July 27, 1989, for any period during which the remainder interest is held, directly or indirectly, by a person related to you. A term interest in property means a life interest in property, an interest in property for a term of years, or an income interest in a trust.taxmap/pubs/p946-002.htm#en_us_publink1000107324
For a description of related persons, see Related persons on page 9. For this purpose, however, treat as related persons only the relationships listed in items (1) through (10) of that discussion and substitute "50%" for "10%" each place it appears. taxmap/pubs/p946-002.htm#en_us_publink1000107325
If you would be allowed a depreciation deduction for a term interest in property except that the holder of the remainder interest is related to you, you generally must reduce your basis in the term interest by any depreciation or amortization not allowed.
If you hold the remainder interest, you generally must increase your basis in that interest by the depreciation not allowed to the term interest holder. However, do not increase your basis for depreciation not allowed for periods during which either of the following situations applies.
- The term interest is held by an organization exempt from tax.
- The term interest is held by a nonresident alien individual or foreign corporation, and the income from the term interest is not effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States.
The above rules do not apply to the holder of a term interest in property acquired by gift, bequest, or inheritance. They also do not apply to the holder of dividend rights that were separated from any stripped preferred stock if the rights were purchased after April 30, 1993, or to a person whose basis in the stock is determined by reference to the basis in the hands of the purchaser.