The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provides a wonderful opportunity for business aircraft purchasers of both new and pre-owned aircraft to take 100% bonus deprecation on the aircraft purchase price in the year of acquisition pursuant to Section 168(k), provided that the aircraft is placed in service for business use in that year. This purchase incentive, designed to spur economic activity in equipment sales, can serve as a valuable tool to free up capital and encourage business investment and activity.
After years of debate, tax reform has arrived. The late-year 2017 passage and signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has reshaped the business and individual tax landscape. The TCJA provides excellent tax opportunities for businesses of all sizes to invest in general aviation aircraft, but requires careful planning and review to ensure that deductions are preserved. Below you will find a few highlights of the new law, along with discussion points to consider with a trusted advisor.
- 179 Expensing Election of $500,000; phase out starts when equipment purchases exceed $2,000,000.
- 50% Bonus depreciation for factory new equipment
In a welcome display of good governance, Congress this year has largely broken its recent routine of allowing important tax incentives to expire with the start of each new year, only to retroactively reinstate those provisions as year-end approaches—leaving taxpayers during the interim on tenterhooks, guessing what tax laws they will be subject to.
Tax Depreciation of General Aviation Aircraft
Businesses throughout the country routinely make use of general aviation aircraft to provide travel and communication efficiencies that provide them with an important competitive advantage. As part of a general Congressional approach to encourage business investments, the Tax Code allows a rapid depreciation schedule for aircraft that allows owners to fully write-off purchase/acquisition costs over a period of time (usually five year) that is far less than the economic life of an aircraft.
To Maximize Deductions The Taxpayer Must Place Aircraft in Service in 2013
Current tax law provides for both bonus depreciation and an enhanced expensing election available to new aircraft purchasers. Fifty percent (50%) bonus depreciation is available for all new aircraft, including fractional interest, that are used primarily for business. The enhanced expensing election of $500,000 applies to new or used aircraft placed in service by “qualifying small business” taxpayers. A qualifying small business is one that invests less than $2,000,000 in total equipment purchases during the year.