How to Calculate Land Value for Taxes and Depreciation

REtipster does not provide tax, investment, or fiscal advice. Always seek the avail of a license fiscal professional before taking legal action. Owning substantial estate offers a draw of meaning tax advantages that other investments don ’ triiodothyronine .
possibly the most noteworthy tax advantage is the ability to write off the cost of depreciation .
disparagement is a “ apparition expense ” that the IRS allows real estate of the realm investors to deduct from their taxable income each year to account for the natural wear-and-tear that occurs to the physical improvements of a place.

The bible “ apparition ” is often used because this expense doesn ’ t have a real minus impact on the property owner ’ s bank account. It ’ s a newspaper loss that reduces the investor ’ mho taxable income and effectively reduces their annual tax obligation, even if there are no direct capital expenditures for the property in that tax year .
This ultimately means the real estate investor gets to keep more of their money and pay less to the politics each year .

How Much Can Be Depreciated Each Year?

A building can be depreciated, but land cannot ( i.e. – buildings and equipment will finally wear out and need to be replaced, but crap doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate ) .
besides, certain types of buildings and equipment will wear out faster than others, so in decree to calculate this number correctly, it ’ randomness important to understand a few key things :

  1. Property Value: What is the appropriate number to use for the property’s beginning value?
  2. Land Value: What portion of the property’s value is attributable to land rather than the building?
  3. Depreciation Timeline: How quickly can the value of the building, land improvements and equipment be depreciated and written off?

Doing this correctly will allow the place owner to save significant tax dollars each class ( and when the property is finally sold ) .
Doing this incorrectly will result in unnecessary tax expenses or penalties, so it ’ randomness important to get this right !
RELATED: Finding the Right Accountant for Your real Estate Business

How to Establish Property Value

As mentioned above, this process starts with establishing an appropriate value for the subject property… but when we ’ ra talking about real estate, “ prize ” can be a very subjective thing .
home value opinions In the actual estate industry, there are different ways to determine what a place may be worth, here are a few of the most park methods…

Appraised Value

When most properties are bought and sold, an appraisal is performed by a professional appraiser .
An appraisal is an indifferent appraisal of a place ’ second rate, accompanied by supporting data to support the robustness of the evaluation. Appraisers will typically use the income approach, the sales comparison border on, and/or the cost approach to determine the most naturalistic rate of a property .

Assessed Value

Every time a piece of veridical estate of the realm is bought and sold, the sale is reported to the local tax assessor, so they ’ rhenium aware of the change of ownership and the price that was paid for the place .
The tax assessor can use this datum detail, along with comparable property sales in the area to determine what the most realistic value of the property is .

Purchase Price

Since this is literally the monetary value that was paid for the place, this could besides be a reasonable number to use when determining the market prize of the property and ultimately, the depreciation come .

So what’s the right number to use?

When it comes to calculating eligible costs for depreciation, the baseline measure always starts with what you PAID for the property ( i.e. – the purchase price ) and not what the prize might be .
With that said, the exit of calculating the bring rate specifically ( as opposed to the prize of the buliding, land improvements or equipment ) is another topic that needs to be evaluated individually .

How to Calculate Land vs. Building Value

once we ’ ve established the baseline rate ( i.e. – acquisition price ), the future step is to identify what assign of that number is attributable to the estate .
Since this stallion calculation is subject to the IRS ’ second opinion, it ’ randomness helpful to hear their input on how to do this :

“ Since land can not be depreciated, you need to allocate the original purchase price between land and building. You can use the property tax assessor’s values to compute a ratio of the value of the bring to the construct. ”

While the IRS doesn ’ thyroxine explicitly state that the tax tax assessor ’ sulfur opinion of land value is the only option that can be used, based on this instruction, the IRS seems to prefer this approach .

Using the Assessor’s Opinion of Land Value

If we continue on this path of using the local tax assessor ’ second public opinion of the property ’ second bring value, we can use their percentages to come up with the right depreciable amount .
The IRS besides offers the follow exercise :

Ryan bought an function build for $100,000. [ however, ] The property tax instruction shows :

  • Improvements: $60,000 (75%)
  • Land: $20,000 (25%)
  • Total Value: $80,000 (100%)

In this exemplar, Ryan ’ randomness leverage price was different than the assess value. however, he can use the same percentages as determined by the tax assessor and apply them to the original leverage price to determine how much can be depreciated .
In this case, he could multiply his buy price of $ 100,000 by 25 % to get a farming value of $ 25,000 .

calculate land value taxes depreciation

The tax assessor ’ sulfur opinion of value can be found for free on most city or county websites that tilt property tax and possession data. You can normally find these by doing a google search for something like :



If this datum is well accessible on-line ( and it normally is ), these searches will credibly find the web site that has this information .
alternatively, if you ’ re a subscriber to a datum service like DataTree, this lapp information can be found in their “ Property Detail Reports ” right here :

If you take this approach, it ’ randomness pretty dim-witted to find the tax assessor ’ sulfur opinion of your property ’ s value AND what amounts they ’ ve designated toward farming five improvements .
even though the tax assessor ’ mho public opinion is credibly the safest route to go ( in the event of an IRS audit ), it may not be the most accurate or advantageous for the taxpayer, and that ’ s when it could be worthwhile to take another set about .
If another approach is sought, it ’ randomness important that the tax preparer is able to document and support their position ( whichever one they choose ) in event the IRS always challenges these numbers.

Using the Appraiser’s Opinion of Land Value

Most appraisals will distinctly spell out how much of the property ’ randomness value is attributable to the land ( sometimes referred to as “ site value ” ) along with the replacement prize of the improvements .
land value appraisal
Since many appraisers look closer at the determining factors for a place ’ mho value, there ’ s an argument to be made that this appraisal of state measure may be more allow to use ( again, a long as the tax preparer clearly documents this as their footing for determining the percentage allocable to land value vs. improvements ) .
Granted, there ’ second always the possibility that the IRS could challenge this if they ever audit the taxpayer, but the crucial thing is that there was some fair basis for choosing these numbers in the first place .

Using Acquisition or Construction Cost to Determine Land Value

apart from the tax assessor ’ second and the appraiser ’ s opinions of domain value, it ’ second besides feasible for the tax preparer to use the actual purchase price as documented in the shutting affirmation. This could be done if the close up documentation clearly segregated what fortune of the price was paid toward state, nation improvements, construction, and equipment .
A alike approach could be taken in the case of modern construction, where it ’ second a lot easier to know precisely how much was paid for the vacant land, land improvements ( i.e. – sidewalks, landscaping, etc ) construction of a build and equipment. This information can be tracked by following invoices and sworn statements from the general contractile organ, for example .
new construction costs
When buying an existing structure on farming, it is more unmanageable to come up with a reasonable footing for down value based on price, and that ’ s normally where the tax assessor ’ mho opinion of land measure is an easy default option .
If the tax preparer decides to go another route, their decisiveness should be based on supporting data and applied to the investor ’ s tax render, based on the position that offers the greatest advantage to the taxpayer .
The IRS can audit the taxpayer at any point, thus any rationale is chosen, this data should be well-documented and kept in the tax preparer ’ s files, so the taxpayer can support the number if needed .

Depreciation Timelines: Residential vs. Non-Residential Real Estate

once the prize of farming is established, there are some noteworthy differences in how cursorily a property ’ south improved value can be depreciated, based on whether the property is “ residential ” or “ non-residential ” substantial estate .
In most cases, straight-line depreciation is applied to very estate. As the mention suggests, straight-line depreciation requires that the master value of the improvements be spread out evenly and expensed over a set period of time, in adequate intervals .
At the time of this writing, residential veridical estate can be depreciated over 27.5 years, while non-residential ( i.e. – commercial, industrial ) real estate can be depreciated over 39 years ( source ) .
Depreciation Graph
There may be portions of a man of real estate that can be depreciated faster than that ( section 179 or bonus depreciation as an exemplar ) if they qualify, but the build itself will be straight-line over the appropriate issue of years, based on whether it is residential or non-residential .

Residential vs. Nonresidential Real Estate

How precisely does the IRS classify a property as either “ Residential ” or “ Nonresidential ” ?
This IRS publication explains it very thoroughly, but these two excerpts are what you ’ ll want to pay attention to :

Residential rental property. This is any construct or structure, such as a rental home ( including a mobile home ), if 80 % or more of its arrant rental income for the tax year is from dwelling units. A dwell unit of measurement is a house or apartment used to provide living accommodations in a building or structure. It does not include a unit in a hotel, motel, or other establishment where more than half the units are used on a transient basis. If you occupy any part of the construction or structure for personal use, its crude lease income includes the fair rental value of the partially you occupy .
Nonresidential real property. This is department 1250 property, such as an agency construction, memory, or warehouse, that is neither residential rental place nor property with a classify life sentence of less than 27.5 years .

In early words, if you own an investing property and 80 % or more of its annual gross rental income is coming from dwelling units ( i.e. – people actually live in the property, including apartments, duplexes, etc ) then it ’ s considered residential .
A build with both residential and commercial ( i.e. – apartments on top and shopfront on the bottom ) needs to pass the 80 % test in holy order to be depreciated as residential place, differently, it is classified as non-residential ( you don ’ thymine prorate the costs of the property ) .

Equipment and Land Improvements

Another common scenario with commercial properties is when an improved property ( i.e. – bring and build up ) is being purchased along with equipment ( e.g. – a build up with a large crane in it that is difficult to move ) .
commercial building with equipment crane
When equipment is tied in with the very estate like this, a buyer you would likely want their purchase agreement to specify that they are buying both real estate and equipment, and they would designate what parcel of the purchase price is being allocated to each category .
Equipment can be depreciated over a much shorter life than a building ( typically 5 to 7 years, depending on the type of equipment and its useful life ), so if a property owner wants to take their depreciation deductions sooner, they would need to specify how much of the purchase price is being allocated towards the equipment .
besides, “ down improvements ” ( e.g. – sidewalks, fences, landscaping, parking lots, bridges, etc ) can besides be depreciated faster ( typically over 15 years ) than the build itself. If the tax preparer is able to document what portions are allocable to these parts of the property, they could potentially take these depreciation deductions sooner deoxyadenosine monophosphate well .

Other Considerations

For some rental property acquisitions or pre-built or constructed buildings, it may be knowing to consider a cost segregation sketch to breakdown components of the build into smaller depreciable segments to get depreciation deductions sooner .
For exemplar, if an 80-unit apartment complex is purchased with kitchen and laundry appliances included with each unit, that ’ s a lot of “ equipment ” coming along with the overall leverage price .
apartment building depreciation
If a careful armory of these appliances is taken and thoroughly documented to support the rate of those appliances, this could set aside a ample value to depreciate faster, thereby giving the property owner a larger tax breakage in the earlier 5 years of their ownership, rather than waiting the full 27.5 years to take full moon tax advantage of this depreciation expense .
As with any tax-related issue, there are constantly deal-specific issues that need to be evaluated by a license professional. A effective accountant or fiscal adviser can play a big function in helping each person investor extract the most profit afforded by the tax code, and this kind of help can pay for itself many times over in tax savings .

Depreciation Formula and Calculator

basically, when place as an equation, the disparagement convention looks like this :

As the formula implies, the questions we need to answer are:

  • What was the acquisition cost?
  • What is the land (salvage) value?
  • What are the years of useful life, according to the IRS?

note that the 27.5 and 39-year depreciation calculations are typically based on a mid-month convention. intend, in the first month you acquire the property, you would get half ( mid-month ) of the first calendar month ’ south depreciation, not an entire month, and the same holds true in the month you dispose of the asset. As an exemplar, if you buy a residential property in December, you get 1/27.5/12months*.5 months. If you bought in November, it would be 1/27.5/12*1.5 months. This particular calculator does not account for the half (mid-month) convention.

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