Cost Segregation And It’s Benefits

Cost segregation is a tax strategy that allows real estate owners to accelerate depreciation deductions for certain components of their property. By identifying and reclassifying specific assets within a property, cost segregation empowers owners to accelerate the depreciation of those assets, leading to greater tax savings during the initial years of ownership.

  • Cost segregation studies allow property owners to identify and allocate the costs of shorter-lived assets separately from the building's cost, enabling accelerated depreciation for those assets.
  • By utilizing methods like bonus depreciation or shorter recovery periods, property owners can reduce taxable income and generate higher tax deductions in the early years of ownership, leading to improved cash flow.
  • You are not required to take bonus depreciation because of the cost segregation.
  • Disposition of property can lead to the recapturing of previously claimed depreciation, resulting in additional tax liabilities. This can be managed with the right planning.
  • Cost Segregation can only be used on property that is owned as investments, not on a full-time primary residence.
  • You cannot do cost segregation on flips to saved taxes.
  • Who should do cost segregation.

Cost segregation is based on the idea that not all elements of a property possess equal useful lives for tax purposes. While the building itself is typically depreciated over a longer period, usually 27.5 years for residential real estate and 39 years for commercial real estate, specific components like land improvements, personal property, or specialized building systems may have shorter depreciable lives.

How Is A Cost Segregation study Beneficial?

By conducting a cost segregation study, property owners can identify and allocate the costs of short-lived assets separately from the cost of the building. This enables owners to accelerate the depreciation of those assets through methods such as bonus depreciation or accelerated depreciation schedules like 5-year, 7-year, or15-year schedules. As a result, property owners can reduce their taxable income and generate higher tax deductions in the initial years of ownership, leading to a significant cash flow benefit.

How Does A Cost Segregation study Work?

A cost segregation study is a comprehensive analysis of the components and their associated costs within a property, with the goal of identifying assets that can be reclassified for accelerated depreciation. Below is a general overview of the workings of a cost segregation study:

The cost segregation team will assess the property, including its blueprints, construction documents, and other property records. Additionally, they may conduct on-site visits to visually inspect and document its components. This comprehensive approach assists in identifying and categorizing various elements within the property. These elements encompass not only building structures but also land improvements, personal property, and specialized building systems.

Once the components have been identified, the team will proceed to assign a cost to each of them by relying on available documentation and industry standards. Invoices, construction contracts, receipts, and other records will be utilized to determine the precise costs associated with each asset. After the cost has been allocated, determining the appropriate asset classification foreach component becomes easy. The team will review IRS (Internal Revenue Service) guidelines and regulations to determine the optimal depreciation schedule for each asset, which may involve utilizing accelerated depreciation methods, such as bonus depreciation or shorter recovery periods.

Finally, the professional consolidates all the findings and calculations into a comprehensive cost segregation study report. This report provides a thorough breakdown of reclassified assets, their associated costs, and the recommended depreciation schedules. Furthermore, it includes the essential documentation and supporting evidence for the utilized asset classification and depreciation methods.

Who Will Benefit From A Cost segregation Study?

A cost segregation study offers several advantages to distinct categories of real estate owners, including commercial property owners, residential rental property owners, developers, investors, and the individuals undertaking leasehold improvements. By enabling them to identify specific assets within their properties that qualify for accelerated depreciation, the study helps generate higher tax deductions and enhance cash flow. Both flippers and passive investors can also reap the benefits.

The following should do cost segregation:

  • Short term rental owners who have materially participated
  • Long term rental owners whose household qualifies as real estate professional status
  • Even if the household does not qualify as REPS(Real Estate Professional Status), you should consider cost segregation if:
  1. You invest in STR (Short Terms Rentals)
  2. You have other passive income form business or limited partnership interest
Drawbacks Of Cost Segregation
  1. Conducting a cost segregation study can be a complex, time-consuming, and costly process that requires  qualified professionals. Additionally, implementing accelerated depreciation through cost segregation may increase the risk of an audit by tax authorities, although a properly conducted study should withstand scrutiny.
  2. It is important to note that cost segregation provides upfront tax savings and improved cash flow in the short term; however, it defers depreciation deductions for reclassified assets to later years.
  3. Property disposition can also lead to recapture of previously claimed depreciation, resulting in additional tax liabilities. 
  4. Cost segregation may not be suitable or cost-effective for all real estate owners, as its applicability depends on factors such as property type, size, cost basis, ownership structure, and individual tax situations.


It is important to emphasize that cost segregation studies should be conducted only by qualified professionals. At Investor Friendly CPA®, we have a team of expert professionals who specialize in evaluating properties, reviewing tax documentation, and preparing comprehensive studies that outline the reclassified assets and their corresponding depreciation schedules. We guide you through the entire process and collaborate with the stakeholders to come up with an optimal study to suit your requirements. Our expertise adheres to the guidelines and regulations established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS),ensuring their validity and providing support in an audit.