Year-End Equipment Flexibility

Published on: 09:00AM Dec 13, 2011

We had a reader ask the following question:

"If I purchase and take delivery of a tractor in December 2011 but do not want any of the depreciation until 2012 can I still get the section 179 and bonus depreciation in 2012?"


In order to depreciate equipment such as this tractor in 2011, the farmer must both purchase the tractor (either for cash or financing it) and place the tractor in service.  Generally at year-end, the tractor needs to be delivered to the farm and available for use on the farm.  The farmer does not have to actually use the tractor in the field before year-end, but it must be available for that use.

If the farmer meets both of these tests, then the tractor is depreciated in 2011 either using bonus depreciation, if new, or using Section 179 and regular depreciation on the remainder, if used.

Now, if this farmer does not want to depreciate it in 2011, then he can purchase the tractor, but not place it in service.  He may simply have the tractor delivered to the farm after year-end and this would make it eligible for bonus depreciation and Section 179 in 2012.

However, the farmer needs to understand that bonus depreciation in 2012 is only 50% not 100%, and Section 179 is only available on $139,000 of assets, not the $500,000 available in 2012.  Now, these numbers may change and go back to the 2011 amounts, but this is not law yet.