Congress delays decision on bonus depreciation renewal

 - August 26, 2010, 12:21 PM

Although support for accelerated depreciation for major equipment purchases is growing, Congress left for its summer recess without making it so. Last month, NBAA senior vice president for government affairs Lisa Piccione told the Greater Washington Business Aviation Association (GWBAA) that NBAA has joined 80 other business organizations in pushing to see accelerated depre ciation renewed in pending legislation in the Senate. In late July, before lawmakers took their annual hiatus, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen urged swift passage in the Senate of an amended proposal to renew accelerated, or "bonus," depreciation for investments in strategic assets, including aircraft. "The business aviation community has joined with many other business groups across the country in supporting this proven incentive for companies of all sizes to accelerate replacement and purchases of essential equipment, including general aviation aircraft," Bolen said. The Senate is considering amendments to the House version of the Small Business Tax legislation that would include a variety of incentives aimed at boosting U.S. economic recovery. "This legislation will also strengthen the economic viability of all the jobs that are created by the use of those aircraft–the associated businesses and industries in communities surrounding general aviation airports and facilities," Bolen said. In written testimony to the House Committee on Small Business earlier in July, Bolen wrote that extending accelerated depreciation would "help promote the sale of business aircraft, and preserve the good-paying manufacturing jobs that come with those sales." At the GWBAA luncheon, held at Signature Flight Support at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Piccione said, "People who have purchased aircraft have said that accelerated depreciation was a contributor to [their] making those decisions to purchase airplanes." She urged those in attendance to contact their legislators because "members of Congress listen to their own voters." Bonus depreciation was enacted as part of the 2008 economic stimulus efforts and was extended through the end of 2009 in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It allows businesses to deduct an additional 50 percent of an asset's depreciable value in the first year instead of spreading it out over five years. As important as increased aircraft sales, Bolen wrote, is the fact that stimulating companies to invest in general aviation aircraft for business purposes also "enables more American companies to continue using business aviation to succeed."