Why Business Property is Important to Your Business

All About Business Property
All About Business Property. Bruce Leighty/Getty Images

Every business owns property. Even the smallest business has property in the form of a computer/laptop, probably a desk, maybe filing cabinets and maybe a business vehicle. In this article, we'll look at business property, how this property affects the business value on the balance sheet, how business property affects business taxes, and how to keep records on business property. 

Types of Business Property

Business property comes in several different types: 

Real property is property that includes land and buildings, and anything affixed to the land. For a business, real property would include warehouses, factories, offices, and other buildings owned by the business. Real property only includes those structures that are affixed to the land, not those which can be removed, such as equipment.

Real property may also be determined to include:

Personal property is all other property owned by a business, including equipment, furniture and fixtures, and vehicles. 

Listed property is a specific type of personal property of a business that comes under increased scrutiny by the IRS. Property of this type may be used for either business or personal reasons, so the IRS more carefully monitors deductions for payments for this type of property and for deductions for use of this type of property.

Included in listed property are business vehicles, computers and other electronics. 

Getting Loans for Business Property Purchase

Interested in a loan to buy business property? Types of loans include:

    How Business Property Affects Business Value

    Business property is shown on the balance sheet of a business, as business assets. Real property is shown first, then personal property. 

    Accumulated depreciation on personal property (real property is not depreciated) is shown on the asset side of the balance sheet, so the net value of the specific property is shown. 

    Keeping Records on Business Property

    It's important to keep excellent records on the purchase of all types of business property, as well as records on mortgages, liabilities, and expenses associated with the purchase and maintenance of all types of property. As noted above, 

    Selling Business Property

    Because the sale of business property affects income taxes and real estate taxes, the sale of business property must be recorded. 

    Form 4797-Sale of Business Property is used to record:

    • the sale or trade of property used in a business for at least a year
    • involuntary conversion of property held over a year
    • Ordinary gains and losses on business property.
    • Gain from disposition of specific types of business property, and
    • Recapture of property under Sections 179 and 280F(b)(2) when business use drops to 50% or less

    Form 4797 and the Instructions to Form 4797 can be found by clicking on the links here or on the IRS website.

    How Business Property Affects Business Taxes

    Paying taxes on real property. If your business owns real property, you must pay property tax on this property. In the same way as individuals pay property tax on the assessed value of their homes, businesses pay property tax on the assessed value of their real estate (land and buildings). If real estate is sold, the tax for the year is distributed between the previous and new owners, based on how much of the year they owned the property.

    Property taxes are assessed by local entities - towns, cities, counties, villages - for local purposes, such as schools, roads, improvements in infrastructure.

    When you purchase real estate for your business, the property will be registered with the appropriate taxing authority and you will receive information on the changes in your assessed value and the amount of tax you owe each year.

    Check with your local taxing authority for more information on real estate taxes on your business property. Since property taxes are specific to each state, you might also go to Google and type in "property taxes [state]" for more information.

    Expenses associated with personal property. Expenses for use of personal property (such as business driving expenses) are legitimate deductible business expenses, as long as you can show that these expenses are truly business-related. 

    Interest expenses on the sale of business property is also included in your business tax return, along with depreciation expense for the year. 

    Business Property and Capital Gains or Losses

    The sale of business property may result in a short-term or long-term capital gain or loss. Keeping good records on purchase and expenses for property can help you and your tax professional figure out capital gains taxes at tax time. 

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