Real Estate Tax Loopholes of the Rich #11: Cost Segregation, Tax Credits, and Tax Incentives

Learn how real estate investors can save on taxes and get tax credits for their investments. This week we interview Bobby Thames on tax credits, tax incentives and cost segregation.

If you own real estate and you have not considered using cost segregation, tax credits or incentives, you need to listen to this episode.


Benefits of a Cost Segregation

The main goal of all cost segregation studies is to accelerate the depreciation expense associated with your property.  If that is the goal, let’s take a moment to discuss the issue.  Spending money to purchase or build an income-producing property does not lower your taxable income.  You do not have an expense; you simply have a new asset.  That asset is then expensed over time lowering your taxable income, this is known as depreciation.  Without a cost segregation on residential real estate, the entire property is placed into one depreciable class life which takes 27.5 years to depreciate.  So, if you spent $1,000,000 on an investment property, you only get a $19,700 depreciation expense in the first year.  That is the issue at hand, spending large amounts of money and not taking the proper expense that should accompany the spend. 

So why are you defaulting to 27.5 years depreciation?  A residential property is made up of 5-year, 7-year, 15-year, and 27.5-year property as described by the IRS.  To properly identify the 5, 7, and 15-year property you need to know very specific rules, court cases, and have engineering experience.  So, when you do not have a specialist to identify these assets, most CPAs will put everything in the 27.5-year asset class to remain compliant. (The IRS does not care if you under-depreciate property, even though it is technically an impermissible method.)   

What we have is a house full of flooring, cabinetry, and long list of other short life assets sitting on a lot full of plants, trees, sidewalks and more… and it is all depreciated extremely slowly as if it were just a building.  So, a cost segregation study does exactly what it sounds like: it segregates all these costs into separate depreciable lives, identifying and moving the appropriate assets into 5-year, 7-year, and 15-year designations.  And it gets better!  Currently (until 12/31/2022) bonus depreciation is 100%.  Bonus depreciation is additional depreciation for short life property you take in the first year.  That means everything that moves into the 5, 7, and 15-year buckets is immediately expensed in the first year.  It varies property-to-property, but a good typical range is 20% - 30% of a property is short life.  Which means that with a $1,000,000 property, you could have $264,000 of depreciation expense in the first year to offset your income, compared to the $19,700 from above.  

Let's look at this from a tax effective standpoint.  If you made $300,000 of taxable income in a given year,  we can see the difference a cost segregation study will make on your tax liability.  Without a cost segregation study, you have $280,300 ($300,000 - $19,700) of taxable income.  Assuming a 32% tax rate, you owe the IRS $89,696 for the year.  If you did the cost segregation study, you will have $36,000 ($300,000 - $264,000) of taxable income and tax liability of only $11,520.  With the study you will pay $78,176 less in tax.  

The two most common responses I receive after laying out these benefits of a cost segregation study to investors are “why have I never heard of this?” and “what’s the catch?”.  

“Why have I never heard of this?”

The answer to the first question is simple: real estate investors are a highly underserved group when it comes to tax incentives.  In my past life at PwC, our cost seg team sat right next to the compliance teams (tax return preparers) and made sure that all their clients were aware of these tax incentives.  Odds are that your CPA does not have a team of engineers and specialists sitting down the hall itching to talk about cost segregation.  Second to that, many of my clients from back in those days were the ones lobbying for these tax incentives.  So that is why many fortune-500 companies cost segregate every single property on their books. 

“What’s the catch?”

It’s a timing play, and what I mean by that is you were always going to get this expense eventually. In my example above, you would get your $1,000,000 of expenses after 27.5 years of owning the property.  We are accelerating deductions, not creating them.  For investors this is not an issue asunderstanding the time value of money is second nature.  We have had people tell us they used the tax savings from a property as the down payment on their next property!  

Summary

If you have properties that are already placed in service, the IRS makes it very easy to go back in time and optimize properties that have already begun depreciating.  We do not have to amend tax returns that have already been filed to fix the depreciation.  Instead, we can fill out a single Form 3115 for the current year’s tax return and gain all the missed benefit right away.  

Tax is an interesting, yet dense area so if you have made it this far I hope you see the value in making sure your tax ledger is optimized for depreciation.  I always tell people that these are the tools used by the largest companies in the U.S., and they are just as available to you – take advantage!  This is also not the only tool for tax incentives out there.  On our website (centiv.tax), you can learn more about Green Energy Tax Credits, Tax Fixed Asset Ledger Review, and Fixed Asset Outsourcing, all of which can help lower your tax liability. 

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It doesn’t cost much to start, and you get access to a portfolio built around your risk tolerance and your goals. Using Modern Portfolio Theory, pioneered by a Nobel laureate, Betterment can help you build wealth without getting caught up in the noise of the market.

Today's Guest:  Bobby Thames 

Bobby spent nearly the first decade of his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers becoming a subject matter expert in tax credits and cost recovery solutions. Bobby’s expertise all fall under the umbrella of fixed assets, specifically related to tax incentives tools for developers and owners of properties. Cost Segregation is the most common tax incentive project Bobby has done through the years, having performed numerous cost segregation and depreciation studies ranging in scale from professional sports stadiums (e.g., Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Bank of America Stadium, etc.) to bank branches, restaurants, and distribution centers.


In addition to Cost Segregation, Bobby works in the Green Energy Tax Credit space maximizing credits related to energy efficient homes, solar energy, and alternative fuel stations.

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Secured Mortgage Notes: Finding Yield in a Low Yield Environment

Have you been looking for yield in all the wrong places?

Lets talk about the right ones... Secured Mortgage Notes.

Never heard of it? You are not alone. This is an enormous market place where people lend and borrow money for real estate privately... not through the banks. So the yields can be much higher. 

Check out our episode this week on Secured private mortgages, private notes, REO, and other secured paper.

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It doesn’t cost much to start, and you get access to a portfolio built around your risk tolerance and your goals. Using Modern Portfolio Theory, pioneered by a Nobel laureate, Betterment can help you build wealth without getting caught up in the noise of the market.


Today's Guest:  Chris Seveney 

Seveney Mortgage Note Investments is led by Chris Seveney. A real estate professional of over 20 years, Chris has developed over $750M in real estate and is known for honesty, integrity, professionalism, passion, and tenacity in all his dealings. Since entering the real estate business, he has strived to be an industry leader with whom his partners and colleagues can put their trust and faith in.


He has been the leader of multiple teams that have won numerous industry awards in excellence and innovation. As the son of a life-long educator, Chris now shares his knowledge of first position performing and non-performing notes to his peers. Chris has an intimate understanding of this niche industry from his continued effort for self-improvement. Chris received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is completing a Masters in Real Estate Finance from Georgetown University.


Through this education and experience, Chris has been able to build his Note Investing portfolio to over 250+ deals valued at over $12M. Along with investing in first position performing and non-performing mortgage notes, Chris enjoys his full-time job as a Director of Construction for a Washington DC-based development firm who is an industry leader in sustainable design and construction.


In his free-time, Chris enjoys spending time with his family and is an avid Boston sports fan having spent much of his life living in Massachusetts.

Chris' Online Presence:

  • Seveney Mortgage Note Investments - https://www.7einvestments.com/ 



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Brian Adams: Real Estate Syndication Trends

Want to know where the big money is investing in real estate? This week we interview Brian Adams about how the Ultra High Net worth family offices, institutions and big money is investing in real estate syndications.

We discuss recent real estate syndication trends, some hot locations, demographic shifts, risks to look out for and more.

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It doesn’t cost much to start, and you get access to a portfolio built around your risk tolerance and your goals. Using Modern Portfolio Theory, pioneered by a Nobel laureate, Betterment can help you build wealth without getting caught up in the noise of the market.


Today's Guest:  Brian Adams

Brian C. Adams is the President and Founder of Excelsior Capital, where he spearheads the investor relations and capital markets arms of the firm. He has 10 years of experience in real estate private equity and has advanced knowledge in best practices for strategic real estate investing. Prior to forming Excelsior Capital, Brian co-founded Priam Properties (an institutional real estate private equity sponsor) in 2010 and provided leadership and direction for the firm in connection with capital markets, investment management and investor relations.

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Real Estate Inflation – Should You Be Afraid Of This New Trend?

Real estate prices are continuing to skyrocket. People continue to flee to the suburbs. Lumber prices are up 300%+ People are paying above listed price all cash offers sight unseen. Where is this madness going to end?

On top of that, Inflation is starting to pick up. Commodity prices are rising... when they have done nothing but drop for over 10 years. 

Have we finally turned the corner and started to see the inflation that the Fed has so desperately been seeking?

We discuss all this and more on the show today with Greg McBride, from Bankrate.com. 


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It doesn’t cost much to start, and you get access to a portfolio built around your risk tolerance and your goals. Using Modern Portfolio Theory, pioneered by a Nobel laureate, Betterment can help you build wealth without getting caught up in the noise of the market.


Today's Guest:  Greg McBride

Greg McBride, CFA, is Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Analyst, for Bankrate.com, the pre-eminent personal finance website. He leads a team responsible for researching financial products, providing analysis, and advice on personal finance to a vast consumer audience. With more than a quarter century of experience in personal finance, he is a subject matter expert that has the unique ability to provide both in-depth commentary and practical advice to consumers. Through Bankrate.com's Money Makeover series, he has helped consumers plan for retirement, manage debt and develop appropriate investment allocations.


McBride has appeared on hundreds of national cable and network broadcasts including NBC's "Nightly News," CBS' "Evening News" and ABC's "World News Tonight," and has been a frequent guest on CNBC and Fox Business Network. McBride is routinely quoted by major media outlets such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, has served as a Wall Street Journal Expert Panelist, and is a regular guest on Yahoo Finance, Cheddar and financial talk shows throughout the United States. He is also an accomplished public speaker, having appeared before audiences at the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Trade Commission, American Association of Individual Investors, National Foundation for Credit Counseling, and at the China Times Golden Cicada Awards in Beijing.


McBride currently serves on the board of Money Management International of Sugar Land, TX, the nation’s largest nonprofit credit counseling agency accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, and is Chairman of both the Compensation Committee and the Investment Committee. He has a distinguished record of serving on boards in the credit counseling industry, having previously chaired a finance and investment committee, and having served on executive and development committees. McBride has also served on the funding board of the Consumer Financial Education Fund through the Rose Foundation of Oakland, CA.

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Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting 2021

Join us for the pilgrimage to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting 2021... virtually.

This week we discuss the points made by Buffett and Munger at the annual meeting as well as some of things that Buffett missed.

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It doesn’t cost much to start, and you get access to a portfolio built around your risk tolerance and your goals. Using Modern Portfolio Theory, pioneered by a Nobel laureate, Betterment can help you build wealth without getting caught up in the noise of the market.


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Gold Vs. Bitcoin Debate

Which would you rather have Gold or Bitcoin?

No matter what side you believe in, this gold vs bitcoin debate will cause you to rethink your position.

We have 4 experts debating whether Gold vs Bitcoin is better. You don't want to miss this debate.

The big topics we discuss: What is the best store of wealth, liquidity, potential threats, transparency, environmental impact, and better impact on mankind.

If you liked this debate, we will also be holding this debate at Freedomfest 2021 in South Dakota this summer July 21 - 24th. If you are in the area, stop by and say hi.

Our Debaters for this show...

Team Gold

Team Bitcoin

Paul Rosenberg investing in cryptocurrencies
Kirk Chisholm innovative advisory group

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Panelist Bios: 

Rich Checkan: As the President and COO of ASI, Rich Checkan has been an integral part of ASI's maturation to a full-service tangible asset provider to include precious metals, and rare US, world, and ancient coins. Mr. Checkan oversees the operations, administrative, sales, and marketing departments, and serves as ASI's compliance officer. He is a regular contributor to Escape Artist Insiders magazine and ASI's monthly newsletter, Information Line. Mr. Checkan speaks yearly at numerous conferences and seminars worldwide, has been tapped for his expertise on industry vlogs and podcasts, and had been quoted in myriad financial newsletters and the NY Times.

Kirk Chisholm: Kirk is the Host of Money Tree Investing Podcast and Wealth Manager at Innovative Advisory Group. He is an outside the box thinker who provides a different perspective on many commonly held beliefs in personal finance. He has worked in the wealth management industry for over 20 years. He has a rare expertise with alternative investments held in self-directed IRAs which has helped many investors invest in their passion. He was recently ranked #7 on Investopedia's top 100 most influential financial advisors and has been featured in a number of major media publications.

Eryka Gemma: As the Venture Director at a Digital Asset Hedge Fund, Eryka is well versed in bitcoin’s underlying technology, the blockchain. In 2019, she co founded Blockchain Center Miami with a goal of making her city the crypto capital of the Americas. Over the years, Eryka has taught hundreds of people how to safely navigate the cryptocurrency space and writes a Bitcoin column for Escape Artist Insiders Magazine.

Paul Rosenberg: Paul Rosenberg is the author of the Free-Man’s Perspective newsletter, as well as a founder of a leading online privacy system, Cryptohippie. He has a broad range of interests and has been involved with cryptography projects since the 1990s. Prior to this, his construction and engineering career saw him called as an expert witness in numerous legal cases and recruited as a consultant to a number of organizations. He developed and taught 19 continuing education courses for Iowa State University’s College of Engineering. He also co-founded the Fiber Optic Association and wrote the first ever standard for the installation of fiber optic cables in buildings.

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Listener Questions: When Is The Housing Market Going To Crash, Inflation, and Dividend Stocks

It is time for your best questions. This week we answer, when is the housing market going to crash, are we going to get higher inflation, and how to get income in this environment with dividend stocks. 

Send us your questions and you can be famous on our show.

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Looking for a better way to invest? 

Consider Betterment.

It doesn’t cost much to start, and you get access to a portfolio built around your risk tolerance and your goals. Using Modern Portfolio Theory, pioneered by a Nobel laureate, Betterment can help you build wealth without getting caught up in the noise of the market.


Today's Panelists

Everything You Need To Know About Investing In Cryptocurrencies

Are you still wondering what all the fuss is about?

Still think cryptocurrencies are the next tulip bubble?

This week we interview Paul Rosenberg about why everyone is excited about investing in cryptocurrencies. We discuss what is preventing widespread adoption, "stock to flow", privacy coins, and why you need to take a second look at how blockchain technology is going to change the world.

Paul Rosenberg investing in cryptocurrencies


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Listen on
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Looking for a better way to invest? 

Consider Betterment.

It doesn’t cost much to start, and you get access to a portfolio built around your risk tolerance and your goals. Using Modern Portfolio Theory, pioneered by a Nobel laureate, Betterment can help you build wealth without getting caught up in the noise of the market.


Today's Guest:  Paul Rosenberg

Paul Rosenberg is the author of the Free-Man’s Perspective newsletter, as well as a founder of a leading online privacy system, Cryptohippie. He has a broad range of interests and has been involved with cryptography projects since the 1990s

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Tiger 21: Learn The Secrets Of How Successful Entrepreneurs Preserve Their Wealth

Great interview this week with Michael Sonnenfeldt, founder and chairman of Tiger 21, a peer network of successful high net worth individuals. 

We discuss what it is like for successful entrepreneurs to have an successful exit, then deal with new wealth, how to raise kids around wealth, what surprises they encounter, how to deal with loss, why entrepreneurs have the opposite mindset of successful investors, and more.

michael sonnenfeldt tiger 21


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Looking for a better way to invest? 

Consider Betterment.

It doesn’t cost much to start, and you get access to a portfolio built around your risk tolerance and your goals. Using Modern Portfolio Theory, pioneered by a Nobel laureate, Betterment can help you build wealth without getting caught up in the noise of the market.


Today's Guest:  Michael Sonnenfeldt

Michael Sonnenfeldt is the Founder and Chairman of TIGER 21, the premier membership network for high-net-worth individuals – helping them to navigate the challenges and opportunities that success creates.  The TIGER 21 experience centers on learning about and reflecting upon issues pertaining to investing, life, and family.  Central to this are TIGER 21 Group Meetings, with 12-15 Members meeting once per month led by a Chair who is an accomplished professional and experienced facilitator. TIGER 21 leads with a unique approach to wealth preservation that focuses on leveraging collective wisdom and engaging Members in an extraordinary community to enhance their personal and professional lives.

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Are You A Prolific Investor? Chris Odegard The Employee To Investor Transformation

Are you a prolific investor?

We interview Chris Odegard about his story of going from employee to full time investor. HE talks about how he learned to be a smart investor, books he has read, and why he invests in alternative investments. He had some investments even I had not considered. This interview was a real eye-opener. He also talks about his hierarchy of investors.



Looking for a better way to invest? 

Consider Betterment.

It doesn’t cost much to start, and you get access to a portfolio built around your risk tolerance and your goals. Using Modern Portfolio Theory, pioneered by a Nobel laureate, Betterment can help you build wealth without getting caught up in the noise of the market.


Today's Guest: Chris Odegard

Chris is an average guy who had a white-collar job in the corporate world and followed the only thing he knew for decades, conventional wisdom. After a significant illiquidity event and reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, his mind was opened to a different type of investing, investing in real assets and private deals mostly insulated from the volatility, risk, and taxation of the stock market. In a relatively short period, Chris climbed out of his financial abyss, increased his net worth many times over, and now shares his experience and knowledge through his Alternative Investment Blog at www.TheProlificInvestor.net.

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