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Section 1245


Section 1245 refers to a section of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. It deals with the taxation of gains made from the sale or exchange of certain types of depreciable property, such as machinery, equipment, or buildings used in a business. The gain from the sale of such property is treated as ordinary income to the extent of the accumulated depreciation, while any remaining gain may be taxed at the capital gains rate.


Section 1245 in phonetics can be represented as:/ˈsɛkʃən/ /wʌn/ /tuː/ /fɔːr/ /faɪv/Here’s the pronunciation break down:- Section: S-eh-k-sh-uh-n- 1: w-u-n- 2: t-oo- 4: f-aw-r- 5: f-ai-v

Key Takeaways

  1. Section 1245 is related to the depreciation recapture, stating that a gain on the sale or disposition of depreciable personal property can be treated as ordinary income to the extent of the accumulated depreciation.
  2. The purpose of Section 1245 is to prevent taxpayers from benefiting from a lower tax rate on capital gains when selling or disposing of depreciable personal property, by ensuring that the part of the gain attributable to depreciation is taxed at the ordinary income tax rate.
  3. Section 1245 does not apply to all types of property; it is specifically applicable to depreciable personal property, such as machinery and equipment used in a business or trade, and certain intangible assets, such as patents and copyrights.


Section 1245 is an important business/finance term as it pertains to the tax treatment of gains derived from the sale or disposition of certain types of depreciable property, primarily tangible personal property and certain types of real property used in a business or trade. It prevents taxpayers from reaping tax benefits by converting ordinary income into capital gains, which are typically taxed at a lower rate. Under Section 1245 of the Internal Revenue Code, the depreciation taken on such assets is recaptured as ordinary income upon the sale or disposition of the property, to the extent of the accumulated depreciation or the gain realized, whichever is lower. This provision ensures that the tax benefits received through depreciation deductions are properly offset, promoting fairness and accuracy in tax reporting for businesses and individuals.


Section 1245 is a significant tax provision in the United States Internal Revenue Code, specifically established to address depreciation recapture for business owners and investors who hold tangible personal property or certain real property for income generation. Essentially, its purpose is to ensure that taxpayers accurately report and pay taxes on the gains resulting from the disposition, or sale, of assets that have experienced depreciation. This provision works to create equity across taxpayers, especially as these assets typically depreciate in value over time, leading to a potential reduction in taxable income for property owners.In the context of its application, Section 1245 is employed when a business owner or investor decides to sell an asset previously used in their business operations. The income generated from the sale would typically be subject to ordinary income tax rates. However, under Section 1245, the portion of the gain due to accumulated depreciation (in other words, the difference between the sale price and the adjusted basis of the asset) must be treated as ordinary income, rather than capital gains, which usually carries a lower tax rate. This recapturing of depreciation means that taxpayers cannot take advantage of the depreciation deductions provided by the IRS without eventually compensating for the tax advantages received. The provision, therefore, serves as a crucial tool in mitigating distortionary tax practices and upholding fairness within the tax system.


Section 1245 of the Internal Revenue Code is a business/finance term that deals with the treatment of gains on the disposal of certain depreciable property. It aims to recapture the gains as ordinary income rather than treat them as capital gains. Here are three real-world examples related to Section 1245:1. Manufacturing Equipment Sale: A manufacturing company sells a piece of machinery used for production purposes after utilizing it for several years and claiming depreciation on the equipment. The selling price of the equipment is higher than its current adjusted cost basis (original cost minus accumulated depreciation). In this case, Section 1245 comes into play, and the gains related to the depreciated amount are considered as ordinary income and subject to ordinary income tax rates.2. Commercial Property Improvement: A business owner who made improvements to their commercial rental property subsequently sells the property. The improvements, such as internal walls, lighting systems, and flooring, are considered 1245 property. When the business owner sells the entire property (including the improvements) at a profit, the portion of the gain related to the depreciation of these improvements will be treated as ordinary income under Section 1245 rather than as a capital gain, resulting in a higher tax rate for that portion of the gain.3. Vehicle Depreciation Recapture: A small business owner decides to sell their company car after a few years of use. During the ownership period, the owner claimed significant depreciation deductions on the vehicle. If the car is sold for more than its adjusted cost basis, Section 1245 recapture comes into play, requiring the portion of the gain related to depreciation to be taxed as ordinary income instead of capital gain, increasing the business owner’s tax liability on the sale.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Section 1245?

Section 1245 is a section of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code that deals with the taxation of gains from the sale or exchange of certain types of property, including depreciable tangible personal property and amortizable intangible property.

What types of property does Section 1245 apply to?

Section 1245 applies to depreciable tangible personal property, certain real property, and certain intangible property, such as patents, copyrights, and franchises, that are used in a trade or business and subject to depreciation or amortization.

How does Section 1245 treat gains resulting from the sale or exchange of property?

Gains from the sale or exchange of Section 1245 property are treated as ordinary income to the extent of depreciation or amortization previously taken on the property. Any gain exceeding the depreciation or amortization is treated as capital gain.

What is the purpose of Section 1245?

The primary purpose of Section 1245 is to prevent taxpayers from claiming favorable capital gains treatment on the sale of property that has been partially or fully depreciated, thus recovering the value of the depreciation deduction they have already taken.

How does Section 1245 affect a property’s basis for taxation purposes?

When calculating the gain or loss on the sale or exchange of Section 1245 property, the property’s adjusted basis is increased by the amount of depreciation or amortization that has been recaptured as ordinary income. This effectively reduces the amount of capital gain that may result from the sale or exchange.

What happens if a Section 1245 property is sold at a loss?

If a Section 1245 property is sold at a loss, the entire loss is considered a capital loss. No depreciation recapture is required in this situation.

Are there any exceptions to the application of Section 1245?

Yes, some exceptions apply to Section 1245. For example, gains from the sale of property between related parties or property that is converted from business use to personal use may not be subject to Section 1245 recapture rules. It is important to consult a tax professional to fully understand these exceptions.

Related Finance Terms

  • Depreciable property
  • Capital gains tax
  • Asset recapture
  • Tangible personal property
  • Cost recovery

Sources for More Information

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