The Cost Segregation Estate Planning Strategy

12 Oct

estate-planning

If someone dies owning commercial or rental residential real estate, a highly effective tool for reducing the tax burden on the estate might be a cost segregation study.

When a property owner dies. their heirs receive a step up in tax basis to the current fair market value of the property.  Any recapture that the decedent would have been required to pay upon the sale of the property is forgiven.  Using an engineering-based cost segregation study to accelerate the depreciation on the  pre-stepped up cost basis provides a windfall of immediate tax deductions that are never recaptured on the sale.  The estate must, however, act very quickly to take advantage of this benefit.  The study must be conducted and implemented before the due date of the decedent’s final income tax return.

Commercial buildings are normally depreciated over a 39 year period, and residential property is depreciated over a 27.5 year period, straight line.  An engineering based cost segregation study uses accounting and engineering principles to identify non-structural building components that can be depreciated over a much shorter time period (5,7 or 15 years)

The studies do not generally increase the amount of deductions over the life of the property.  By accelerating the depreciation, they generate net-present-value savings.

When this type of study is used in an estate-planning context, a cost segregation study can substantially reduce or eliminate taxes owed on the decedent’s final federal income tax return.  It also avoids a potential disadvantage, namely recapture.

Timing is everything

It is not necessary to perform the cost segregation study before a building owner’s death, but it is vital to complete and implement it before the decedent’s final tax return is filed.  If the deadline is missed, the opportunity is lost, as the benefits of a study cannot generally be claimed on an amended return.

To preserve and maximize the benefits of this strategy, it is vital to identify the opportunity early and to work with a reputable, experienced cost segregation firm that has the experience in implementing this type of strategy.

CSSI – Cost Segregation Services Inc. is the premier cost segregation company in the US.  With over 20,000 studies performed and not one IRS audit caused by our studies, we can help you in all ways to maximize the benefits of an engineering-based cost segregation study.

Contact me today for further information.

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