What Methodology is Required by the IRS for Cost Segregation?
Neither the Service nor any group or association of practitioners has established any requirements or standards for the preparation of cost segregation studies. The courts have addressed component depreciation, but have not specifically addressed the methodologies of cost segregation studies.
The Service has addressed this issue but only briefly, i.e., Revenue Ruling 73-410, 1973-2 C.B. 53, Private Letter Ruling (PLR) 7941002 (June 25, 1979), Chief Counsel Advice Memorandum 199921045 (April 1, 1999). These documents all emphasize that the determination of IRC Sec. 1245 property is factually intensive and must be supported by corroborating evidence. In addition, an underlying assumption is that the study is performed by “qualified” individuals or firms, such as those employing “…personnel competent in design, construction, auditing, and estimating procedures relating to building construction” (PLR 7941002).
Despite the lack of specific requirements for preparing cost segregation studies, taxpayers still must substantiate their depreciation deductions and classifications of property. Substantiation using actual costs is generally preferable to the use of estimates. However, in situations where estimation is the only option, the methodology and the source of any cost data should be clearly documented. In addition, estimated costs should be reconciled back to actual costs or purchase price.
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