There is a unique tax break for business entities of all shapes and sizes contained in Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code. Under this section, a business can elect to “expense,” or currently deduct, the cost of qualified property placed in service during the year, up to a maximum level. It is near-instant tax gratification.
Do you own investment real estate—say, an apartment building—that you rent out to tenants? Real estate can be a valuable and reliable source of income. Of course, the rental income is subject to tax, but the resulting tax liability may be offset by deductible expenses. In some cases, you might even qualify for a loss.
However, there is another wrinkle in the tax law. The loss may be disallowed under the passive activity loss (PAL) rules.