Over 32 years ago, I published an article on accelerated depreciation in which I concluded that some amount of acceleration was consistent with normal tax principles and should not be classified as a tax expenditure. Over the intervening years, from time to time, I have exchanged comments with authors who have questioned that conclusion. It is time to revisit that topic and renew the consideration of how tax depreciation may properly operate. This Essay’s analysis of depreciation provides one example of how the tax expenditure budgets are flawed. The treatment of some accelerated depreciation as a tax expenditure is based on a view that any acceleration conflicts with normal tax principles. I will show in this Essay that when the structure of depreciation is examined, it becomes clear that there is more than one way to determine what allowance for depreciation should be made. Furthermore, allowing acceleration does not contravene any established tax principles. It is not the thesis of this Essay that acceleration is the only proper method of tax depreciation. To the contrary, it is my view that many forms of depreciation are proper and comply with normal tax principles, and that accelerated depreciation is merely one of the appropriate methods that can be authorized.
Kahn, Douglas A. "A Proposed Replacement of the Tax Expenditure Concept and a Different Perspective on Accelerated Depreciation." Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 41, no. 1 (2014): 143-58.