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Cost Segregation Calculator

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Cost segregation is a strategic tax planning tool that helps investors and business owners increase their cash flow by accelerating depreciation deductions and deferring federal and state income taxes. A Cost Segregation Calculator is an essential tool for anyone involved in real estate investments as it simplifies the process of determining how much of a property can be depreciated over a shorter tax life.

Purpose and Functionality of the Cost Segregation Calculator

The primary purpose of the Cost Segregation Calculator is to break down the purchase price of a property into various components that can be depreciated over different periods. This method contrasts with the standard approach of depreciating the entire property over 27.5 years for residential property or 39 years for commercial property. By using this calculator, property owners can depreciate certain parts of their investment much faster—typically over 5, 7, or 15 years, leading to substantial tax savings in the early years of the property's life.

How Does the Cost Segregation Calculator Work?

Here’s a straightforward breakdown of the calculator's inputs and formula:

  • Inputs:
    1. Total Purchase Price of Property: The complete cost of acquiring the property.
    2. Land Value: The cost portion associated strictly with the land.
    3. Building Value: Calculated by subtracting the Land Value from the Total Purchase Price.
    4. Percentage of Property Eligible for Accelerated Depreciation: Based on assessments which may involve engineering reviews or historical data indicating the portion of the property eligible for faster depreciation.
  • Depreciation Categories:
    • 5-Year Property: Includes personal property such as furniture and equipment.
    • 7-Year Property: Covers all movable assets not included in the 5-year category.
    • 15-Year Property: Encompasses improvements to land such as sidewalks and landscaping.
  • Formula and Calculation:
    1. Building Value = Total Purchase Price - Land Value
    2. Values for Each Category:
      • 5-Year Property Value = (Percentage for 5-Year Property / 100) * Building Value
      • 7-Year Property Value = (Percentage for 7-Year Property / 100) * Building Value
      • 15-Year Property Value = (Percentage for 15-Year Property / 100) * Building Value
    3. Annual Depreciation for Each Category:
      • 5-Year: Value / 5
      • 7-Year: Value / 7
      • 15-Year: Value / 15

Step-by-Step Example

Let's assume a property with the following characteristics:

  • Total Purchase Price: $1,000,000
  • Land Value: $200,000
  • Building Value: $800,000 (Calculated as $1,000,000 - $200,000)
  • Percentages for Depreciation Categories:
    • 5-Year Property: 10%
    • 7-Year Property: 15%
    • 15-Year Property: 25%

Using the calculator, the values and annual depreciation would be:

  • 5-Year Property Value: 10% of $800,000 = $80,000
  • 7-Year Property Value: 15% of $800,000 = $120,000
  • 15-Year Property Value: 25% of $800,000 = $200,000
  • Annual Depreciations:
    • 5-Year: $80,000 / 5 = $16,000
    • 7-Year: $120,000 / 7 = $17,143
    • 15-Year: $200,000 / 15 = $13,333

Information Table

CategoryPercentageCalculated ValueAnnual Depreciation
5-Year Property10%$80,000$16,000
7-Year Property15%$120,000$17,143
15-Year Property25%$200,000$13,333


The Cost Segregation Calculator offers significant benefits by maximizing tax savings in the initial years after a property purchase. It not only provides immediate cash flow benefits but also enhances the overall return on investment for property owners. This tool is invaluable for real estate investors, accountants, and financial planners involved in property acquisition and management.

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