Many businesses have long-term assets on their balance sheets. For an asset to be considered long-term it needs to be held on a company’s balance sheet for more than a year and cannot be intended for sale. Examples of long-term assets include physical assets such as property, plant and equipment (PP&E) – machines, buildings, office equipment, vehicles, fixtures, land, computers, etc. These are all tangible assets. However, there are some intangible assets that are considered long-term such as goodwill, patents, research and development, and copyrights.
Imagine this – a husband and wife own a sales company and they purchase two passenger automobiles to be used in the course of business. The automobiles are available for personal use, but the husband and wife claim that they are primarily used to transport and entertain clients that are in town. While this fact pattern points to a valid business deduction for the automobiles, the IRS disagreed. This was part of a larger case that went to US Tax Court (Brent Mcminn and Lynette Mcminn v. Commissioner), which disallowed the deduction on the grounds that the automobiles were listed property and business use could not be substantiated.