Depreciation Calculation for Vacation Rentals

Trying to juggle the expenditures and tax requirements that come with being a vacation rental owner? We have some exciting news for you! There are several ways to reduce your taxable income, and we’ll concentrate on one of the most significant: vacation rental property depreciation.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the federal organization responsible for tax collection on behalf of the United States government. We suggest that you read Chapter 2 of Publication 527 before getting into this subject.

We understand how perplexing it may be, which is why we’ve created a free rental property depreciation calculator for you. Additionally, this post will explain what vacation rental depreciation is, the laws that must be followed, and how to optimize it. Let us begin!

What Is Depreciation on Rental Property?

Tax depreciation on vacation rental property is described as recovering the cost of a property used for commercial purposes over its useful life (which is 27.5 years). By depreciating a property, you may deduct expenditures from your annual tax return. This procedure starts when the property is put into operation to generate revenue.

Depreciation is critical for property owners because it allows them to deduct the cost of the property and any improvements made over time. The amount you may deduct is determined by your cost basis in the property, the recovery time, and the form of depreciation utilized.

Once the cost or basis of your rental property is entirely recovered, you must halt depreciation.

Depreciation Rules for Vacation Homes

Certain standards and regulations govern whether or not a property may be depreciated. According to the IRS, to depreciate property, you must fulfill the following four criteria:

You are the property’s owner.

Only the property’s owner has the authority to depreciate it. This implies that if you rent your property to someone else, they cannot depreciate it. There is one exception to this regulation, and that is if they make permanent changes to the leased property.

The property is utilized for commercial purposes and produces revenue.

If a vacation rental property is utilized for personal purposes for fewer than 14 days a year or 10% of the total days rented out, it is deemed a business (at a fair rental price).

The property’s useful life is quantified.

Additionally referred to as having a determinable useful life, your item must be something that depreciates over time with an expected usefulness lifespan. This might occur as a result of becoming outdated, depreciating due to natural reasons, or being worn out. However, it is not necessary for a property to be in poor condition to be depreciated.

It is anticipated to live more than a year.

To qualify for depreciation, a property must have a life expectancy of at least one year.

Examples of Non-Depreciable Property

It’s critical to understand that some kinds of property cannot be depreciated. This covers land and buildings that are exempt from taxation. Land cannot be depreciated since it never expires or is consumed. The expenditures of upkeep (such as landscaping and planting) are also not reimbursed unless they are directly related to the rental residence.

Additionally, you cannot depreciate property that is placed into and taken out of operation in the same year, nor can you depreciate the equipment included inside that property that is utilized to construct capital improvements.

Different Methods of Depreciation

The Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System is the standard technique of depreciation (MACRS). This term refers to any rental property that was established after 1986.

If your property was constructed before 1987, you will utilize either the Accelerated Cost Recovery System (ACRS) or the straight line/declining balance technique.

How to Calculate Rental Property Depreciation

Establish the property’s foundation

Your basis in the property is the purchase price. This may include the following, according to the IRS:


  • The sales tax you paid when you purchased the property (unless you itemized deductions for state and local general sales taxes on Schedule A/Form 1040).
  • Freight costs associated with acquiring the property
  • Charges for installation/testing
  • Settlement expenses include abstract fees, utility installation charges, recording fees, legal fees, surveys, transfer taxes, title insurance, back taxes or interest, and sales commissions, among others.
  • The base does not include fire insurance payments, rent deposits before closing, or financing costs (like mortgage insurance premiums, loan assumption fees, the cost of a credit report, or appraisal fees).


Calculate the cost of land about the rental rate.

Because you cannot depreciate the cost of land, you must assess the worth of your property on its own. To do so, utilize the property’s fair market value at the time of purchase or the assessed real estate tax value. If you purchased your home for $140,000 but it is now worth $100,000 ($90,000 for the rental portion and $10,000 for the land portion), you can simply determine the value of each component by doing the following.


The rental property’s value is as follows:


$90,000 ÷ $100,000 = 0.9 = 90%


Value of the land:


$10,000 ÷ $100,000 = 0.1 = 10%


Questions That Are Frequently Asked

The following are some of the most commonly asked questions by property owners about depreciation on rental properties:

Is it possible to depreciate tile flooring in a vacation rental?

Tile flooring, which is considered a permanent feature, may be depreciated during the property’s useful life.

Can I deduct unused depreciation when I sell my vacation rental?

If you do not claim depreciation on your rental property while it is on the market, you may be subject to depreciation recapture taxes. This essentially implies that the gains earned from the sale of your property are taxed like regular income.


Is furniture depreciable in a vacation rental property?

True, however since furniture has a shorter useful life than a dwelling, it is depreciated over five years.

Can external doors be depreciated for holiday rentals?

Because doors are regarded to be part of the rental structure, they may be depreciated over 27.5 years.

How can I make the management of my vacation rental easier?

Using short-term rental software will help you save hours of the week and see an increase in your revenue.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button