Hand drawing Cash Flow arrows business financial concept with black marker on transparent glass board.

Hit the Books! A Fixed Asset or Cost Segregation Study Could Boost Manufacturers’ Cash Flow


If you’re seeking opportunities to improve your company’s cash flow, consider a fixed asset or cost segregation study. Manufacturing is a capital-intensive industry, so it’s critical to ensure that fixed assets are classified properly to recover their costs as quickly as possible.

Fixed Asset Study

A fixed asset study examines all depreciable assets — including real property, equipment, machinery, fixtures and furniture — to determine whether you’ve misclassified any assets. Properly classifying assets in a category with a shorter depreciable life will accelerate depreciation deductions, potentially lowering taxes and boosting cash flow.

These studies aren’t just for the most recent tax year. A fixed asset study may also create an opportunity to claim refunds for depreciation deductions missed in previous years.

Cost Segregation Study

A cost segregation study is a type of fixed asset study that focuses on the costs of buying, constructing or substantially improving a building or other real property. Generally, commercial real estate (other than land) is depreciable over 39 years. A cost segregation study identifies assets that might be treated as building components but are properly classified as personal property depreciable over five or seven years, or as land improvements depreciable over 15 years.

Examples of building components that may qualify for accelerated depreciation include:

    • Reinforced foundations,
    • Specialized electrical, plumbing, cooling or ventilation systems, and
    • Other structural components that are required by the manufacturing process rather than for the operation of the building.

By allocating a portion of the building costs to these shorter-lived assets, you can accelerate depreciation deductions and substantially reduce your tax bill.

Now’s the Time

If you’ve recently reconfigured your plant or office space, or otherwise made improvements to your buildings, now may be an ideal time to conduct a fixed asset or cost segregation study. Doing so can help maximize the tax benefits associated with these investments.