BRIEFLY NOTED: The US Treasury is expected to report to Congress around March 31 on whether recent technological advances require shortening any depreciation periods

BRIEFLY NOTED: The US Treasury is expected to report to Congress around March 31 on whether recent technological advances require shortening any depreciation periods

March 01, 2000

BRIEFLY NOTED:  The US Treasury is expected to report to Congress around March 31 on whether recent technological advances require shortening any depreciation periods. Both the Edison Electric Institute and the Electric Power Supply Association argued for shorter lives for power plants. The Treasury is expected to avoid specifics in the report and to focus, instead, on a procedure for ensuring that depreciable lives are updated in future. The IRS used to set depreciable lives, but Congress took away the power in 1988 .... Tampa Electric Company argued in a case in federal district court in Florida that payments it received from customers to run underground power lines to their properties did not have to be reported as income on grounds that they were “advance payments” for electricity. A special rule in IRS regulations lets a manufacturer who is paid in advance to deliver goods in future report the payment as income over the period the goods are delivered. This has been an area of some controversy whether the provision applies to electricity. The court did not rule out claiming the provision on electricity sales, but said it had no application here: “Just because payments are necessary to receive electricity and are made prior to electric service beginning does not mean they are ‘advance’ payment for electricity.”

Keith Martin