Section 1250 Property (Depreciable Real Property)
Generally, real estate investment property, as defined under Section 1250 of the Internal Revenue Code, must be depreciated for income tax purposes. The depreciation method used depends on a number of factors including when the investment property was placed into service, the type of investment property, and the depreciation methods allowed under applicable tax laws and regulations at the time the investment property was placed into service.
But a more complex set of rules comes into play when the asset sold is depreciable real estate. This is so because, in that case, a maximum rate of 25% will apply to what's called unrecaptured section 1250 gain and a maximum rate of 15% will apply to the balance of the gain. "Unrecaptured section 1250 gain" refers to the portion of gain that is eligible for capital gain treatment even though it is attributable to previously allowable depreciation. A further complication is that the portion of the gain that is unrecaptured section 1250 gain depends, as shown below, on when the property was placed in service.
Property placed in service after 1986. For real estate placed in service after 1986, all depreciation deductions allowable before the sale of the real estate give rise to unrecaptured section 1250 gain. Thus, if you sell, at a gain of $200,000, a building on which $90,000 of depreciation deductions were allowable to you through the time of sale, $90,000 of the gain is unrecaptured section 1250 gain that will be taxed at a rate of 25%. The remaining $110,000 of the gain will be taxed at a rate of 15%.
Property placed in service before 1987 and after 1980. For real estate placed in service before 1987, but after 1980 (pre-1987 realty), the treatment of gain on sale depends on whether the real estate is residential or nonresidential.