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Section 1250 Depreciation

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Demystifying Section 1250 Depreciation: A Guide for Real Estate Investors (2024 Update)

Real estate investment establishes a pathway for investors to earn significant wealth and generate passive income. However, it is crucial to understand the tax considerations when maximizing the return. Section 1250 Depreciation is substantially important, particularly for real estate investors. 

This extract will delve into the intricacies of section 1250, its limitations, implications for your tax bill, and strategies for controlling depreciation according to the latest US Tax laws of 2024.

What is Section 1250 Depreciation:

Section 1250 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) outlines the tax implications regarding the depreciation recapture for real estate properties. Depreciation is generally an allowed expense that is deducted from your taxable income as a portion of building value each year to ensure that wear and tear is appropriately recorded and transacted to bring out the real and actual wealth. 

However, it is to be remembered that tax consequences can be shaped when you sell the property with the previously claimed depreciation.

Depreciation Recapture Under Section 1250

When depreciated real estate property is sold, a part of the gain you realized and received may be considered depreciation recapture, which will be treated as ordinary income. This states that that such income is taxed at a marginal rate which is substantially higher than the capital gains tax rate levied on the part of the sale proceeds.

The Mechanics of Section 1250 Recapture (as of 2024)

The depreciation recapture amount is calculated and derived by comparing the accumulated depreciation claimed on the property over the ownership period with the straight-line depreciation that would have been allowed for the same period. 

Accumulated Depreciation: By this, it means the total depreciation charged on your tax returns for the property.

Straight-Line Depreciation: Under this method, an equal amount of depreciation value is deducted each year over the useful life of the property, which varies from 27.5 years for residential properties to 39 years for commercial properties.

The key concept to remember is that if the accumulated depreciation exceeds the straight-line depreciation, the difference generated is entitled to be recaptured as ordinary income upon sale.


Residential property is purchased for $ 500,000.

A value of $10,000 is deducted annually for depreciation; hence, the total accumulated depreciation will be $50,000.

Straight-line depreciation for the same period would be $9200 annually, making a total of $46,000.

If you sell the property for $600,000, you will make a gain of $100,000.

However, $4000, a difference of accumulated depreciation and Straight-Line depreciation, would be recaptured as ordinary income under Section 1250.

Strategies to Minimize Depreciation Recapture

As depreciation recapture could increase your tax burden, there are various strategies that, if properly applied, can reduce its impact:

  1. Hold Onto Your Property: The more you hold on to your property, the more straight-line depreciation reaches up to the accumulated depreciation and hence lessens the potential recapture amount.
  2. Depreciate Land Separately: Make sure that you depreciate the land value separately from the building value, which will eventually minimize the overall accumulated depreciation.


Section 1250 is of crucial importance, specifically for real estate investors to understand and comprehend. Although it offers various tax advantages during ownership, we should not forget that it creates income tax complexities upon sale. The above excerpt, although underlining some significant points, does not exclude the need for a tax advisor like to be consulted to understand the technicalities and procedures.

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