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Publication 225

Adjusted Basis(p31)

Before figuring gain or loss on a sale, exchange, or other disposition of property or figuring allowable depreciation, depletion, or amortization, you must usually make certain adjustments to the cost basis or basis other than cost (discussed later) of the property. The adjustments to the original basis are increases or decreases to the cost basis or other basis which result in the adjusted basis of the property.

Increases to Basis(p31)

Increase the basis of any property by all items properly added to a capital account. These include the cost of any improvements having a useful life of more than 1 year.
The following costs increase the basis of property.
If you make additions or improvements to business property, depreciate the basis of each addition or improvement as separate depreciable property using the rules that would apply to the original property if you had placed it in service at the same time you placed the addition or improvement in service. See chapter 7 for more information.

Deducting vs. capitalizing costs.(p31)

Do not add to your basis costs you can deduct as current expenses. For example, amounts paid for incidental repairs or maintenance are deductible as business expenses and are not added to basis. However, you can elect either to deduct or to capitalize certain other costs. See chapter 7 in Pub. 535.
Note.Generally, you can deduct amounts paid for repairs and maintenance to your tangible property if the amounts paid are not otherwise required to be capitalized. However, you may elect to capitalize amounts paid for repair and maintenance consistent with the treatment on your books and records. If you make this election, it applies to all amounts paid for repair and maintenance to tangible property that you treat as capital expenditures on your books and records for the tax year. To make the election to treat repairs and maintenance as capital expenditures, attach a statement titled "Section 1.263(a)-3(n) Election" to your timely filed return (excluding extensions). For more information on what to include in the statement, see Regulations section 1.263(a)-3(n). If you timely filed your return for the year without making the election, you can still make the election by filing an amended return within 6 months of the due date of the return (excluding extensions). Attach the statement to the amended return and write “Filed pursuant to section 301.9100-2” on the statement. File the amended return at the same address you filed the original return.

Decreases to Basis(p31)

The following are some items that reduce the basis of property. Some of these items are discussed next. For a more detailed list of items that decrease basis, see section 1016 of the Internal Revenue Code and Pub. 551.

Depreciation and section 179 deduction.(p31)

The adjustments you must make to the basis of the property if you take the section 179 deduction or depreciate the property are explained next. For more information on these deductions, see chapter 7.
Section 179 deduction.(p32)
If you take the section 179 expense deduction for all or part of the cost of qualifying business property, decrease the basis of the property by the deduction.
Decrease the basis of property by the depreciation you deducted or could have deducted on your tax returns under the method of depreciation you chose. If you took less depreciation than you could have under the method chosen, decrease the basis by the amount you could have taken under that method. If you did not take a depreciation deduction, reduce the basis by the full amount of the depreciation you could have taken.
If you deducted more depreciation than you should have, decrease your basis by the amount you should have deducted plus the part of the excess depreciation you deducted that actually reduced your tax liability for any year.
See chapter 7 for information on figuring the depreciation you should have claimed.
In decreasing your basis for depreciation, take into account the amount deducted on your tax returns as depreciation and any depreciation you must capitalize under the uniform capitalization rules.

Casualty and theft losses.(p32)

If you have a casualty or theft loss, decrease the basis of the property by any insurance or other reimbursement. Also, decrease it by any deductible loss not covered by insurance. See chapter 11 for information about figuring your casualty or theft loss.
You must increase your basis in the property by the amount you spend on clean-up costs (such as debris removal) and repairs that restore the property to its pre-casualty condition. To make this determination, compare the repaired property to the property before the casualty.


The amount you receive for granting an easement is usually considered to be proceeds from the sale of an interest in the real property. It reduces the basis of the affected part of the property. If the amount received is more than the basis of the part of the property affected by the easement, reduce your basis in that part to zero and treat the excess as a recognized gain. See Easements and rights-of-way in chapter 3.

Exclusion from income of subsidies for energy conservation measures.(p32)

You can exclude from gross income any subsidy you received from a public utility company for the purchase or installation of an energy conservation measure for a dwelling unit. Reduce the basis of the property by the excluded amount.

Canceled debt excluded from income.(p32)

If a debt you owe is canceled or forgiven, other than as a gift or bequest, you generally must include the canceled amount in your gross income for tax purposes. A debt includes any indebtedness for which you are liable or which attaches to property you hold.
You can exclude your canceled debt from income if the debt is any of the following.
  1. Debt canceled in a bankruptcy case or when you are insolvent.
  2. Qualified farm debt.
  3. Qualified real property business debt (provided you are not a C corporation).
  4. Discharge of certain indebtedness of a qualified individual because of Midwestern disasters.
If you exclude canceled debt described in (1) or (2), you may have to reduce the basis of your depreciable and nondepreciable property. If you exclude canceled debt described in (3), you must only reduce the basis of your depreciable property by the excluded amount.
For more information about canceled debt in a bankruptcy case, see Pub. 908, Bankruptcy Tax Guide. For more information about insolvency and canceled debt that is qualified farm debt, see chapter 3. For more information about qualified real property business debt, see Pub. 334, Tax Guide for Small Business. For more information about canceled debt in Midwestern disaster areas, see Pub. 4492-B, Information for Affected Taxpayers in the Midwestern Disaster Areas.