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Publication 17


You recover the cost of income-producing property through yearly tax deductions. You do this by depreciating the property; that is, by deducting some of the cost each year on your tax return.
Three factors determine how much depreciation you can deduct each year: (1) your basis in the property, (2) the recovery period for the property, and (3) the depreciation method used. You cannot simply deduct your mortgage or principal payments, or the cost of furniture, fixtures, and equipment, as an expense.
You can deduct depreciation only on the part of your property used for rental purposes. Depreciation reduces your basis for figuring gain or loss on a later sale or exchange.
You may have to use Form 4562 to figure and report your depreciation. See How To Report Rental Income and Expenses, later.

Alternative minimum tax (AMT).(p72)

If you use accelerated depreciation, you may be subject to the AMT. Accelerated depreciation allows you to deduct more depreciation earlier in the recovery period than you could deduct using a straight line method (same deduction each year).

Claiming the correct amount of depreciation.(p72)

You should claim the correct amount of depreciation each tax year. If you did not claim all the depreciation you were entitled to deduct, you must still reduce your basis in the property by the full amount of depreciation that you could have deducted.
If you deducted an incorrect amount of depreciation for property in any year, you may be able to make a correction by filing Form 1040X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax Return. If you are not allowed to make the correction on an amended return, you can change your accounting method to claim the correct amount of depreciation. See Claiming the correct amount of depreciation in chapter 2 of Publication 527 for more information.
Changing your accounting method to deduct unclaimed depreciation.(p72)
To change your accounting method, you generally must file Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method, to get the consent of the IRS. In some instances, that consent is automatic. For more information, see chapter 1 of Publication 946.


You cannot depreciate the cost of land because land generally does not wear out, become obsolete, or get used up. The costs of clearing, grading, planting, and landscaping are usually all part of the cost of land and cannot be depreciated.

More information.(p72)

See Publication 527 for more information about depreciating rental property and see Publication 946 for more information about depreciation.