Navigating Cost Segregation: Addressing Common Concerns and Solutions

The importance of cost segregation for businesses and property investors cannot be overstated. By accelerating depreciation, taxpayers can significantly reduce their current tax liability, thereby increasing their available cash on hand.

concerns about cost segregation

However, like any strategic financial decision, cost segregation comes with its own set of concerns. These concerns span a wide range, from an elevated audit risk to the intricacy of conducting the study itself. So, let’s explore these common concerns and their potential solutions. Our goal is to demystify cost segregation and help you make informed decisions that can positively impact your bottom line.


  1. Audit Risk

    One of the most common concerns that property owners have about cost segregation is the perceived risk of audit. The IRS maintains precise guidelines for conducting cost segregation studies, and any divergence from these guidelines might trigger an audit. For many property owners, particularly those who lack familiarity with the complexities of tax legislation and IRS protocols, this prospect can be intimidating.

    Solution: Hiring a Qualified Professional

    It's crucial to hire a qualified professional to conduct the cost segregation study. At ETS, our well-rounded team comprises engineers, tax experts and former IRS agents who are proficient in the IRS guidelines regarding cost segregation. We're committed to ensuring that each study we undertake aligns with these guidelines, thereby minimizing the risk of audit.

  2. Depreciation Recapture

    Another concern that often arises in discussions about cost segregation is depreciation recapture. When a property is sold, the IRS may recapture any depreciation that was accelerated as a result of the cost segregation study. The recaptured amount is subjected to the taxpayer’s regular income tax rate, which usually exceeds the capital gains tax rate. Consequently, this could lead to a higher tax liability upon sale, which can be a significant concern for property owners.

    Solution: Long-Term Property Holding

    The key to addressing the concern of depreciation recapture lies in strategic planning and considering the duration of property holding. If you plan to hold the property for a long time, the benefits of accelerated depreciation can outweigh the potential tax liability from depreciation recapture.

  3. Study Costs

    The cost of conducting a cost segregation study can be a significant concern for many property owners. These studies require a deep understanding of tax law, construction methodology and the specific business industry, which can make them quite expensive.

    Solution: Evaluating Potential Tax Benefits Against Study Costs

    Before opting for a cost segregation study, it's vital to weigh the potential tax advantages against the expense of conducting the study. A well-executed cost segregation study can unlock substantial tax savings, which frequently surpass the study's initial cost. At ETS, we offer a free preliminary analysis to help you understand the potential tax savings before you commit to a full study.

  4. Study Complexity

    Cost segregation studies are complex by nature. This complexity can be overwhelming for property owners, especially those who are unfamiliar with the intricacies of cost segregation.

    Solution: Choosing a Professional With Relevant Experience

    The solution to the complexity of cost segregation studies is to hire a professional with expertise in tax law, construction methodology and the specific business industry. The ETS team, equipped with the necessary expertise, ensures accurate studies that comply with IRS guidelines and maximize tax savings.

  5. Impact on Depreciation Under the AMT System

    The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) system is another area that can cause concern for property owners considering cost segregation. The AMT system was designed to ensure that individuals and corporations pay a minimum amount of tax, regardless of deductions, credits or exemptions. Under the AMT system, some taxpayers may find that the accelerated depreciation achieved through cost segregation is added back to their income, potentially increasing their tax liability.

    Solution: Understanding the Implications and Planning Accordingly

    The AMT system's implications can be significant, and a well-informed plan is crucial to navigate its impacts. Our tax professionals stand ready to conduct an in-depth analysis of your tax circumstances, offering insights on how the AMT system might affect your depreciation. We also provide strategic guidance to mitigate any potential tax liability increase.

  6. Agreement Among Partners

    When a property is held by several partners, differing viewpoints about conducting a cost segregation study can surface. Some partners may be keen to capitalize on potential tax savings, while others might tread carefully due to the initial costs or potential audit risks. These differences can lead to delays or conflicts, complicating the decision-making process.

    Solution: Clear Communication

    Transparent and effective communication among partners is an essential tool for resolving disagreements. All parties should be aware of the benefits, risks and costs associated with a cost segregation study. To facilitate this understanding, ETS provides customized, detailed information and thorough tax-saving analyses.

The Bottom Line

Cost segregation can yield significant tax savings for property owners. However, its complexities and challenges may discourage some from leveraging this financial tactic. Yet, as we've demonstrated, each hurdle has a corresponding solution. 

We encourage all property owners to consider cost segregation. While it may seem daunting at first, with the right guidance and expertise, it can be a strategic move that significantly improves your bottom line.

As always, the team at Engineered Tax Services is here to help. We have the expertise and experience to guide you through the cost segregation process, addressing your concerns and helping you make the most of your property investment. Contact us today to learn more about the many exciting opportunities presented by cost segregation.

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