Depreciation in United States


Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

The decline in value of an asset caused by wear, tear, and obsolescence. A corporation may deduct depreciation as an expense on its federal income tax return. An individual may take a deduction for depreciation of income producing property from his or her adjusted gross income. (See income (in U.S. law).) The depreciation allowance that is taken during the useful life of the property should be part of a reasonably consistent plan (not necessarily the same rate each year) authorized under federal income tax law. The total depreciation deductions may not exceed the difference between the cost (or other basis) and the salvage value of the property.

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Depreciation?

For a meaning of it, read Depreciation in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Depreciation.

Other Popular Tax Concepts

Depreciation in State Statute Topics

Introduction to Depreciation (State statute topic)

The purpose of Depreciation is to provide a broad appreciation of the Depreciation legal topic. Select from the list of U.S. legal topics for information (other than Depreciation).


Further Reading

Depreciation in the Federal Budget Process

Meaning of Depreciation in the congressional and executive budget processes (GAO source): The systematic and rational allocation of the acquisition cost of an asset, less its estimated salvage or residual value, over its estimated useful life. Depreciation reflects the use of the asset(s) during specific operating periods in order to match costs with related revenues in measuring income or determining the costs of carrying out program activities.


See Also

Further Reading

  • Legislatures and the budget process: the myth of fiscal control

    (J Wehner, 2010)

  • Reconcilable Differences?: Congress, the Budget Process, and the Deficit (JB Gilmour, 1990)
  • Fiscal institutions and fiscal performance

    (JM Poterba, J von Hagen, 2008)

Economic Age-life Method of Depreciation in the context of Real Estate


See Also

  • Age-Life Method of Depreciation

Economic Depreciation in the context of Real Estate


See Also

  • Economic Obsolescence

Physical Age-life Method of Depreciation in the context of Real Estate


See Also

  • Age-Life Method of Depreciation

Depreciation: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Depreciation. This part provides references, in relation to Depreciation, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Depreciation by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Depreciation and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Depreciation or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Depreciation and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Depreciation. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Depreciation should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Depreciation when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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