Tax Reduction and Cost Segregation – Myths and Facts

June 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Tax Articles

Tax Reduction and Cost Segregation – Myths and Facts

Tax tips and tax help to assist taxpayers by describing options
for tax reduction and tax cuts through lawful tax deductions.

Tax reduction and tax deferral are both generated by cost segregation. However, this tool is not well understood by most real estate investors and by many tax preparers. The root cause of limited understanding regarding cost segregation and how it provides tax reduction is limited dissemination of factual data on the subject.

The most prevalent myths include:

  • Cost segregation does not provide tax reduction, only tax deferral.
  • Cost segregation is too expensive. It only works for properties with a cost basis of $10 to $20 million or more.
  • Cost segregation is risky; it is a tax shelter likely to cause an audit.

All three myths are simply incorrect.

Cost segregation provides tax reduction by converting income which would have been taxed at the ordinary income rate (35% maximum) to income taxed at the capital gains rate (15% maximum). During the ownership period, cost segregation generates additional depreciation real estate investors can use to shelter income from the property or other sources. In many cases this income would have been taxed at 35%.

Upon sale, the property owner and tax preparer will collectively allocate the sales price. In most cases, short-life property such as carpet, vinyl tile and paving have depreciated and the market value of these assets (at the time of sale) equals their depreciated cost basis. In this event, the additional depreciation is taxed at the capital gains rate. Hence, the real estate investor gains both tax reduction and tax deferral.

Cost segregation used to cost $20,000 to $50,000 per property and was only financially feasible for properties with a cost basis of at least $10 million. However, fees for cost segregation studies are now much lower. It generally makes sense to order a cost segregation study if the cost basis of improvements is at least $500,000. In most cases, the first year tax reduction is at least two to four times the fee for the study.

The myth about cost segregation studies being a risky scheme is completely inaccurate. A properly prepared cost segregation study is encouraged by the IRS since it generates more accurate accounting. The Audit Techniques Guide is a 100-plus-page manual regarding the background and proper methodology for a cost segregation report.

Both the advisors and appraisers (who perform cost segregation studies) have studied and understand the Audit Techniques Guide. Cost segregation studies are encouraged by the IRS. In private correspondence, IRS staff has indicated a cost segregation study does not increase the change of an audit.

If you are a real estate investor or use real estate in your business, ignore the myths and obtain a free preliminary analysis to determine if you could benefit from a cost segregation study and increase your tax reductions and tax deductions.

Click here for a FREE preliminary analysis of tax savings resulting from your property.

Cost segregation produces tax deductions and reduces federal income taxes across the country and in every size market. Below are just a few examples of where cost segregation generates meaningful tax deductions.


  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Boston, MA
  • Denver, CO
  • Memphis, TN
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Tampa, FL
  • Hartford, CT
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Miami, FL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Allentown, PA
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Lancaster, PA
  • Greenville, SC
  • McAllen, TX
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Charleston, SC
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Palm Bay, FL
  • Oxnard, CA
  • Madison, WI
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Columbia, SC
  • Lakeland, FL
  • Youngstown, OH
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Detroit, MI
  • Columbus, OH
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Cincinnati, OH

Cost segregation produces tax deductions for virtually all property types.

Property Type:

  • Fast food restaurant
  • Department store
  • Auto dealer
  • Convenience store
  • Service center warehouse
  • Self-storage
  • Drugstore
  • Land
  • Multifamily
  • Medical facility

Almost every industry, including the following, can generate cost-efficient tax deductions by using cost segregation.


  • Automotive parts distributors
  • Frozen food manufacturing
  • Apparel manufacturing
  • Electrical component manufacturing
  • Plastic and rubber products manufacturing
  • Publishers
  • Textile product mills
  • Building supply dealers
  • Wood product manufacturing
  • Golf courses and country clubs

O’Connor & Associates is a national provider of investment real estate consulting services including commercial real estate appraisal, tax deductions, cost segregation, property tax, tax reduction, market research, highest and best use analysis, partial interest valuation, financial modeling, Brazoria county appraisal district, Tips and Tricks for Appealing Your Property Taxes in Galveston, Galveston county appraisal and Federal tax reduction. Appraisal services are provided for all commercial property types including nursing homes, discount stores, truck terminals, tennis clubs, supermarkets, country clubs, medical offices, mini-warehouses, restaurants, vacant lands, skating rinks, community shopping, centers, power centers, car wash facilities and service stations.

Patrick C. O’Connor has been president of O’Connor & Associates since 1983 and is a recipient of the prestigious MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute. He is also a registered senior property tax consultant in the state of Texas and has written numerous articles in state and national publications on reducing property taxes. He continues to set the standard in direction and quality of our appraisal products, adding services ranging from business valuations and business appraisals to cost segregation analysis for income tax reduction.

Online Tax Attorney Websites – Shortcut Route to Tax Exemption and Reduction

October 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Tax Articles

If the thought of tax payments and sights of envelopes with Inland Revenue address frighten or push you back, you may address your problem through the help of an online tax attorney or company. As the laws pertaining to tax in most of the countries are turning more and more complex, taxpayers are resorting to tax attorneys and lawyers to take care of their tax liabilities. Whether it is to perform reduction in tax returns legally to the minimum or understanding or interpreting complicated tax laws, professional guidance and support from a tax attorney is tremendously required.

How Does A Tax Attorney Intercede Between A Taxpayer And IRS?

The IRS or the government department working for tax raising hires highly efficient tax attorneys to persuade tax payers. Those attorneys are extremely persuasive and get paid substantially for being persuasiveness in their jobs. More they prove themselves to be persuasive in collecting taxes from tax payers’ pockets, higher they can charge their fees. Just like the IRS tax attorneys who are constantly persuading tax payers, as a tax payer, you may also hire an equally efficient and persuasive tax attorney for yourself to counter the persuasive actions of IRS attorneys.

As per different categories of tax like income tax, business tax, income tax and etc, there are different types of attorneys to take care of individual tax laws. If you need to settle disputes of business tax, you may hire a business tax attorney or an income tax attorney to reduce income tax returns. Task of tax attorneys of all types includes mediating between the IRS department and you. On your behalf, those tax attorneys will deal with the IRS department and adopt legal procedures in negotiating the tax settlement. As the disputed amount tends to get larger, the job of a tax attorney is to reach a minimum payable amount of tax through negotiation. They can minimize originally claimed tax amount to a much smaller amount. When you want relief from pressures from the IRS department, just get online. The best and the shortcut route to find a really efficient tax attorney is through online tax attorney websites and directories.

Tips On Finding The Right Attorney

Thousands of websites and directories enlist online tax attorney professionals and you can search to select the right one. Most of the websites cite examples of the cases they have successfully handled. Therefore, you may shortlist your options as per the profiles of the companies. There are also online forums, blog sites where people share their experiences of using the services of various tax attorneys. You may use those sites as your referrals and gain useful suggestions to keep away from those inefficient tax professionals.

Online tax attorney directories list several types of tax attorney websites, including, etc, which you can browse to hire a suitable attorney for you.

More Tax Deduction Means Tax Reduction

October 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Tax Articles

More tax deductions means tax reductionImportant Commentary for Owners of Real EstateBy Patrick O?Connor, MAIDepreciate Property Improvements Correctly…and Pay Less Federal Income Tax. Most commercial real estate owners are paying excess federal income taxes because they are not depreciating their property as quickly as they should. A cost segregation study allows property owners to both defer and reduce federal income taxes. Cost segregation increases depreciation (a non-cash deduction) for commercial real estate owners. When properly performed by an appraiser with expertise in cost segregation, this is a conservative tax planning tool which reduces federal income taxes by properly allocating the cost basis between land, 5-year, 7-year, 15-year, 27.5-year and 39-year property. (Long-life depreciation is 27.5 years for residential rental properties and 39 years for commercial properties. Carpet and vinyl tile are typical 5-year items. Site improvements such as landscaping and paving are 15-year items.)Depreciation is an important non-cash tax deduction. By increasing tax deductions, commercial property owners affect federal income tax reduction. (Depreciation indirectly reduces income taxes by reducing taxable income. Income tax credits directly reduce income taxes.) The increase in tax write-offs generates such a large tax cut that some wonder if it is a tax shelter or tax evasion scheme. It is not. Cost segregation is an IRS-guided process used to increase tax deductions during the tax preparation process. The IRS has provided a detailed explanation of the items that qualify for short-life depreciation and acceptable methodologies for performing a cost segregation study. Cost segregation studies performed by appraisers in compliance with the IRS’s Audit Techniques Guide are unlikely to be challenged in an audit. Commercial real estate owners seeking tax advice and tax relief can benefit from reviewing the tax relief available from cost segregation.Cost Segregation Study Benefits include Tax Deductions and Tax ReductionBenefits of a cost segregation study are substantial, immediate and enduring. Year 1 federal income tax savings are typically at least two times the cost of a cost segregation study. In many cases they are five to fifty times the cost of the study. The present value of federal income tax savings for a property held for ten years are typically at least ten times the cost of the study. In many cases, the present value of tax savings as much as 30 to 50 times the cost of the report. The cost segregation study is only required once. Its cost is not recurring, but the benefits are recurring during the term of property ownership. A cost segregation study can also materially reduce local property taxes by separating real and personal property for newly constructed properties.Detailed ExamplePreparing a cost segregation study requires only a limited time commitment from the owner, perhaps 10 to 15 minutes. This limited commitment of time results in substantial federal income tax savings, which are both conservative in approach and well documented. Some owners believe their accountant is properly segregating components into the proper classifications. Many accountants and tax lawyers cannot thoroughly research this highly specialized field to understand the myriad number of items which can be segregated and are inadvertently overstating their client?s income tax liability. Furthermore, not obtaining a cost segregation study increases exposure in case of an audit since there is no clear audit trail. A cost segregation study prepared by an appraiser with expertise in land valuation, construction costs and market value clearly documents each of these items. Further, a cost segregation expert can almost certainly sharply increase allowable depreciation.Following is a summary of the results of a cost segregation study based upon a recent assignment: Office BuildingCost Segregation Example

Total costLandDepreciable basis????????

$6,650,000$1,277,500$5,372,500Annual depreciation (using 39-year straight line) $137,756

Accurate Cost Allocation and Depreciation after Cost Segregation Study

Land5-year property7-year property15-year property39-year property
Cost Basis$1,277,500$374,675$9,433$495,189$4,493,203????????
Annual Depreciation$0$74,935$1,348$33,013$115,210

Year 1 depreciation with cost segregation


Less annual depreciation without cost segregationAdditional year 1 depreciation

Year 1 tax savings based upon 35% marginal tax rate

$30,362Who Benefits from a Cost Segregation StudyIf you own real estate and pay federal income taxes or expect to during the ownership period for the property, you will benefit from the results of a cost segregation study. This is true whether the owner of the real estate is a corporation, limited partnership or limited liability corporation. For syndicators, a cost segregation study is appropriate if limited partners will receive material net taxable income during the holding period even if the general partner does not currently pay federal income taxes. The cost segregation study will increase depreciation shield, thereby decreasing and deferring federal income taxes for the investors.Decreasing and Deferring Federal TaxesSince a cost segregation study decreases and defers federal income taxes, let?s review the long-term impact of this deferral. When the property is sold, capital gains tax will be due if the owner does not enter into a 1031 exchange. However, capital gains tax rates are typically 15% for high net worth individuals, while the ordinary income tax rate is 35%. In addition, the deferral during the ownership period has material benefits because of the time value of money. All investors would much rather pay a 15% tax rate when an asset is sold as opposed to paying a 35% tax rate today.When Should You Obtain A Cost Segregation StudyThe best time to obtain a cost segregation study is when you build or purchase a property. Documentation is most readily available for performing a study and a contemporaneous property inspection can be performed to best document results. However, there are options to perform a cost segregation study for property which has been developed or purchased previously.Elements of Preparing a Cost Segregation StudyThe appraiser starts by gathering documents from the property owner and performing a site visit. As necessary, depending on the special-use property found during the site visit, the appraiser would confer with tax counsel and review relevant tax court decisions. For newly constructed properties, most of the information on actual costs can be obtained from construction draws or invoices from contractors. For existing properties, the appraiser performs a quantity take-off for 5-year, 7-year, and 15-year property and estimates replacement cost using recognized sources. The appraiser then values land, 5-year, 7- year, 15-year, 27.5-year and 39-year property based upon inspection, analysis and IRS regulations and court rulings.Does this only apply to large owners?Both large and small owners of income property or owner-occupied commercial property can benefit from a cost segregation study. Commercial properties with a cost basis of at least $200,000 will likely see a material benefit in excess of the cost from a cost segregation study. In fact, owners of single-family rental homes can probably achieve worthwhile benefits by obtaining a cost segregation study.

Qualifications to Consider when ordering a Cost Segregation Report

The ability to value land and real property are critical elements when engaging a tax reduction expert to perform a cost segregation study. In addition, it is essential they have a detailed understanding of rules for classifying 5-year, 7-year, 15-year, 27.5-year and 39-year property. The ability to justifiably increase short-life depreciation materially increases the benefits of a cost segregation study. While most accounting professionals have a rudimentary understanding of the 5-year, 7-year and 15-year property classifications, few have a detailed understanding of this highly specialized niche. Be certain the report provider has scrutinized both the federal income tax code and the meaningful tax court cases to allow you to maximize your depreciation and minimize your federal income tax liability.

O’Connor & Associates is a national provider of investment real estate consulting services including commercial real estate appraisals, cost segregation, property tax appeal, partial interest valuation,  due diligence, and insurance valuations.
Appraisal services are provided for all commercial property types including nursing homes, discount stores, truck terminals, tennis clubs, supermarkets, country clubs, medical offices, mini-warehouses, restaurants, vacant lands, skating rinks, community shopping, centers, power centers, car wash facilities and service stations.