Reporting Property Repairs vs. Property Improvements

Internal Revenue Code section 162 generally allows a current business deduction for the cost of repairs and maintenance incurred during the year. On the other hand, Internal Revenue Code section 263 requires the capitalization of amounts paid to acquire, produce, or improve tangible property. Since repairs and improvements often have very similar characteristics, it can be tricky to classify the expenditures. However, correct classification is important because the cost of repairs can generally be deducted in the year paid, while improvements must be capitalized and the deduction taken over several years through depreciation.

An improvement requiring capitalization occurs with an addition to or partial replacement of property that results in a betterment of the unit of property, restores the unit of property, or…

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