26 CFR § 1.312-15 - Effect of depreciation on earnings and profits.

§ 1.312-15 Effect of depreciation on earnings and profits.

(a) Depreciation for taxable years beginning after June 30, 1972 -

(1) In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (2) of this paragraph and paragraph (c) of this section, for purposes of computing the earnings and profits of a corporation (including a real estate investment trust as defined in section 856) for any taxable year beginning after June 30, 1972, the allowance for depreciation (and amortization, if any) shall be deemed to be the amount which would be allowable for such year if the straight line method of depreciation had been used for all property for which depreciation is allowable for each taxable year beginning after June 30, 1972. Thus, for taxable years beginning after June 30, 1972, in determining the earnings and profits of a corporation, depreciation must be computed under the straight line method, notwithstanding that in determining taxable income the corporation uses an accelerated method of depreciation described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of section 312(m)(2) or elects to amortize the basis of property under section 169, 184, 187, or 188, or any similar provision. See § 1.168(k)-1(f)(7) with respect to the treatment of the additional first year depreciation deduction allowable under section 168(k) for qualified property or 50-percent bonus depreciation property, and § 1.1400L(b)-1(f)(7) with respect to the treatment of the additional first year depreciation deduction allowable under section 1400L(b) for qualified New York Liberty Zone property, for purposes of computing the earnings and profits of a corporation. Further, see § 1.168(k)-2(g)(7) with respect to the treatment of the additional first year depreciation deduction allowable under section 168(k), as amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Public Law 115-97 (131 Stat. 2054 (December 22, 2017)), for purposes of computing the earnings and profits of a corporation.

(2) Exception.

(i) If, for any taxable year beginning after June 30, 1972, a method of depreciation is used by a corporation in computing taxable income which the Secretary or his delegate has determined results in a reasonable allowance under section 167(a) and which is not a declining balance method of depreciation (described in § 1.167(b)-2), the sum of the years-digits method (described in § 1.167(b)-3), or any other method allowed solely by reason of the application of subsection (b)(4) or (j)(1)(C) of section 167, then the adjustment to earnings and profits for depreciation for such year shall be determined under the method so used (in lieu of the straight line method).

(ii) The Commissioner has determined that the “unit of production” (see § 1.167(b)-0(b)), and the “machine hour” methods of depreciation, when properly used under appropriate circumstances, meet the requirements of subdivision (i) of this subparagraph. Thus, the adjustment to earnings and profits for depreciation (for the taxable year for which either of such methods is properly used under appropriate circumstances) shall be determined under whichever of such methods is used to compute taxable income.

(3) Determinations under straight line method.

(i) In the case of property with respect to which an allowance for depreciation is claimed in computing taxable income, the determination of the amount which would be allowable under the straight line method shall be based on the manner in which the corporation computes depreciation in determining taxable income. Thus, if an election under § 1.167(a)-11 is in effect with respect to the property, the amount of depreciation which would be allowable under the straight line method shall be determined under § 1.167(a)-11(g)(3). On the other hand, if property is not depreciated under the provisions of § 1.167(a)-11, the amount of depreciation which would be allowable under the straight line method shall be determined under § 1.167(b)-1. Any election made under section 167(f), with respect to reducing the amount of salvage value taken into account in computing the depreciation allowance for certain property, or any convention adopted under § 1.167(a)-10(b) or § 1.167(a)-11(c)(2), with respect to additions and retirements from multiple asset accounts, which is used in computing depreciation for taxable income shall be used in computing depreciation for earnings and profits purposes.

(ii) In the case of property with respect to which an election to amortize is in effect under section 169, 184, 187, or 188, or any similar provision, the amount which would be allowable under the straight line method of depreciation shall be determined under the provisions of § 1.167(b)-1. Thus, the cost or other basis of the property, less its estimated salvage value, is to be deducted in equal annual amounts over the period of the estimated useful life of the property. In computing the amount of depreciation for earnings and profits purposes, a taxpayer may utilize the provisions of section 167(f) (relating to the reduction in the amount of salvage value taken into account in computing the depreciation allowance for certain property) and any convention which could have been adopted for such property under § 1.167(a)-10(b) (relating to additions and retirements from multiple asset accounts).

(b) Transitional rules -

(1) Depreciation. If, for the taxable year which includes June 30, 1972, (i) the allowance for depreciation of any property is computed under a method other than the straight line method or a method described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, and (ii) paragraph (a)(1) of this section applies to such property for the first taxable year beginning after June 30, 1972, then adjustments to earnings and profits for depreciation of such property for taxable years beginning after June 30, 1972, shall be determined as if the corporation changed to the straight line method with respect to such property as of the first day of the first taxable year beginning after June 30, 1972. Thus, if an election under § 1.167 (a)-11 is in effect with respect to the property, the change shall be made under the provisions of § 1.167(a)-11(c)(1)(iii), except that no statement setting forth the vintage accounts for which the change is made shall be furnished with the income tax return of the year of change if the change is only for purposes of computing earnings and profits. In all other cases, the unrecovered cost or other basis of the property (less a reasonable estimate for salvage) as of such first day shall be recovered through equal annual allowances over the estimated remaining useful life determined in accordance with the circumstances existing at that time. See paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section for rules relating to the applicability of section 167(f) in determining salvage value.

(2) Amortization. If, for the taxable year which includes June 30, 1972, the basis of any property is amortized under section 169, 184, 187, or 188, or any similar provision, then adjustments to earnings and profits for depreciation or amortization of such property for taxable years beginning after June 30, 1972, shall be determined as if the unrecovered cost or other basis of the property (less a reasonable estimate for salvage) as of the first day of the first taxable year beginning after June 30, 1972, were recovered through equal annual allowances over the estimated remaining useful life of the property determined in accordance with the circumstances existing at that time. See paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section for rules relating to the applicability of section 167(f).

(c) Certain foreign corporations. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply in computing the earnings and profits of a foreign corporation for any taxable year for which less than 20 percent of the gross income from all sources of such corporation is derived from sources within the United States.

(d) Books and records. Wherever different methods of depreciation are used for taxable income and earnings and profits purposes, records shall be maintained which show the depreciation taken for earnings and profits purposes each year and which will allow computation of the adjusted basis of the property in each account using the depreciation taken for earnings and profits purposes.

(e) Applicability date of qualified property. The last sentence of paragraph (a)(1) of this section applies to the taxpayer's taxable years ending on or after September 24, 2019. However, a taxpayer may choose to apply the last sentence in paragraph (a)(1) of this section for the taxpayer's taxable years ending on or after September 28, 2017. A taxpayer may rely on the last sentence in paragraph (a)(1) of this section in regulation project REG-104397-18 (2018-41 I.R.B. 558) (see § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b) of this chapter) for the taxpayer's taxable years ending on or after September 28, 2017, and ending before the taxpayer's taxable year that includes September 24, 2019.

[T.D. 7221, 37 FR 24746, Nov. 21, 1972, as amended by T.D. 9283, 71 FR 51746, Aug. 31, 2006; T.D. 9874, 84 FR 50149, Sept. 24, 2019]