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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
Title 26: Internal Revenue
§1.167(c)-1 Limitations on methods of computing depreciation under section 167(b) (2), (3), and (4).
(a) In general. (1) Section 167(c) provides limitations on the use of the declining balance method described in section 167(b)(2), the sum of the years-digits method described in section 167(b)(3), and certain other methods authorized by section 167(b)(4). These methods are applicable only to tangible property having a useful life of three years or more. If construction, reconstruction, or erection by the taxpayer began before January 1, 1954, and was completed after December 31, 1953, these methods apply only to that portion of the basis of the property which is properly attributable to such construction, reconstruction, or erection after December 31, 1953. Property is considered as constructed, reconstructed, or erected by the taxpayer if the work is done for him in accordance with his specifications. The portion of the basis of such property attributable to construction, reconstruction, or erection after December 31, 1953, consists of all costs of the property allocable to the period after December 31, 1953, including the cost or other basis of materials entering into such work. It is not necessary that such materials be acquired after December 31, 1953, or that they be new in use. If construction or erection by the taxpayer began after December 31, 1953, the entire cost or other basis of such construction or erection qualifies for these methods of depreciation. In the case of reconstruction of property, these methods do not apply to any part of the adjusted basis of such property on December 31, 1953. For purposes of this section, construction, reconstruction, or erection by the taxpayer begins when physical work is started on such construction, reconstruction, or erection.
(2) If the property was not constructed, reconstructed, or erected by the taxpayer, these methods apply only if it was acquired after December 31, 1953, and if the original use of the property commences with the taxpayer and commences after December 31, 1953. For the purpose of the preceding sentence, property shall be deemed to be acquired when reduced to physical possession, or control. The term “original use” means the first use to which the property is put, whether or not such use corresponds to the use of such property by the taxpayer. For example, a reconditioned or rebuilt machine acquired after December 31, 1953, will not be treated as being put to original use by the taxpayer even though it is put to a different use, nor will a horse acquired for breeding purposes be treated as being put to original use by the taxpayer if prior to the purchase the horse was used for racing purposes. See §§1.167(b)-2, 1.167 (b)-3, and 1.167(b)-4 for application of the various methods.
(3) Assets having an estimated average useful life of less than three years shall not be included in a group, classified, or composite account to which the methods described in §§1.167 (b)-2, 1.167(b)-3, and 1.167(b)-4 are applicable. However, an incidental retirement of an asset from such an account prior to the expiration of a useful life of three years will not prevent the application of these methods to such an account.
(4) See section 381(c)(6) and the regulations thereunder for rules covering the use of depreciation methods by acquiring corporations in the case of certain corporate acquisitions.
(5) See §§1.1502-12(g) and 1.1502-13 for provisions dealing with depreciation of property received by a member of an affiliated group from another member of the group during a consolidated return period.
(6) Except in the cases described in subparagraphs (4) and (5) of this paragraph, the methods of depreciation described in §§1.167(b)-2, 1.167(b-(3), and 1.167(b)-4 are not applicable to property in the hands of a distributee, vendee, transferee, donee, or grantee unless the original use of the property begins with such person and the conditions required by section 167(c) and this section are otherwise met. For example, these methods of depreciation may not be used by a corporation with respect to property which it acquires from an individual or partnership in exchange for its stock. Similarly, if an individual or partnership receives property in a distribution upon dissolution of a corporation, these methods of depreciation may not be used with respect to property so acquired by such individual or partnership. As a further example, these methods of depreciation may not be used by a partnership with respect to contributed property, nor by a partner with respect to partnership property distributed to him. Moreover, where a partnership is entitled to use these depreciation methods, and the optional adjustment to basis of partnership property provided by section 743 is applicable, (i) in the case of an increase in the adjusted basis of the partnership property under such section, the transferee partner with respect to whom such adjustment is applicable shall not be entitled to use such methods with respect to such increase, and (ii) in the case of a decrease in the adjusted basis of the partnership property under such section, the transferee partner with respect to whom such adjustment is applicable shall include in his income an amount equal to the portion of the depreciation deducted by the partnership which is attributable to such decrease.
(b) Illustrations. (1) The application of these methods to property constructed, reconstructed, or erected by the taxpayer after December 31, 1953, may be illustrated by the following examples:
Example 1. If a building with a total cost of $100,000 is completed after December 31, 1953, and the portion attributable to construction after December 31, 1953, is determined by engineering estimates or by cost accounting records to be $30,000, the methods referred to in paragraph (a)(1) of this section are applicable only to the $30,000 portion of the total.
Example 2. In 1954, a taxpayer has an old machine with an unrecovered cost of $1,000. If he contracts to have it reconditioned, or reconditions it himself, at a cost of an additional $5,000, only the $5,000 may be depreciated under the methods referred to in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, whether or not the materials used for reconditioning are new in use.
Example 3. A taxpayer who acquired a building in 1940 makes major maintenance or repair expenditures in 1954 of a type which must be capitalized. For these expenditures the taxpayer may use a method of depreciation different from that used on the building (for example, the methods referred to in paragraph (a)(1) of this section) only if he accounts for such expenditures separately from the account which contained the original building. In such case, the unadjusted basis on any parts replaced shall be removed from the asset account and shall be charged to the appropriate depreciation reserve account. In the alternative he may capitalize such expenditures by charging them to the depreciation reserve account for the building.
(2) The application of these methods to property which was not constructed, reconstructed, or erected by the taxpayer but which was acquired after December 31, 1953, may be illustrated by the following examples:
Example 1. A taxpayer contracted in 1953 to purchase a new machine which he acquired in 1954 and put into first use in that year. He may use the methods referred to in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, in recovering the cost of the new machine.
Example 2. A taxpayer instead of reconditioning his old machine buys a “factory reconditioned” machine in 1954 to replace it. He cannot apply the methods referred to in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, to any part of the cost of the reconditioned machine since he is not the first user of the machine.
Example 3. In 1954, a taxpayer buys a house for $20,000 which had been used as a personal residence and thus had not been subject to depreciation allowances. He makes a capital addition of $5,000 and rents the property to another. The taxpayer may use the methods referred to in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, only with respect to the $5,000 cost of the addition.
(c) Election to use methods. Subject to the limitations set forth in paragraph (a) of this section, the methods of computing the allowance for depreciation specified in section 167(b) (2), (3), and (4) may be adopted without permission and no formal election is required. In order for a taxpayer to elect to use these methods for any property described in paragraph (a) of this section, he need only compute depreciation thereon under any of these methods for any taxable year ending after December 31, 1953, in which the property may first be depreciated by him. The election with respect to any property shall not be binding with respect to acquisitions of similar property in the same year or subsequent year which are set up in separate accounts. If a taxpayer has filed his return for a taxable year ending after December 31, 1953, for which the return is required to be filed on or before September 15, 1956, an election to compute the depreciation allowance under any of the methods specified in section 167 (b) or a change in such an election may be made in an amended return or claim for refund filed on or before September 15, 1956.
[T.D. 6500, 25 FR 11402, Nov. 26, 1960; 25 FR 14021, Dec. 31, 1960, as amended by T.D. 7244, 37 FR 28897, Dec. 30, 1972; T.D. 8560, 59 FR 41674, Aug. 15, 1994; T.D. 8597, 60 FR 36679, July 18, 1995]