I was thinking about buying a laptop to use dedicated for consulting. Currently I've been using the same laptop that I do my personal stuff on for my consulting work but I'd like to have a separate one now.

My question is... how would I report this as a deduction to the IRS? What form would I need to fill out?

  • I've always (well, since the cost of a system dropped below several $K) just put computer stuff under Office Expense on Schedule C. – jamesqf Apr 19 '15 at 18:30
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    @jamesqf that would be very wrong. Computer is a depreciable capital asset, cannot be expensed. If you (and the computer) qualify, you can use Sec. 179 to skip the depreciation, but it is not the same as writing it off as a office expense on schedule C. – littleadv Apr 19 '15 at 21:44

Look at taking a deduction under Section 179. Generally, you can deduct the entire cost of certain business equipment (up to a limit) in the year you purchase it, rather than depreciate it over time. There's a dedicated web site with lots of information. Make sure you qualify and keep records for each piece of equipment you elect under Section 179.

To make the election, include IRS form 4562 on your tax return.

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    And if it doesn't qualify (not enough income, or second-hand laptop etc), then you need to depreciate it. – littleadv Apr 19 '15 at 21:45
  • I just came across this and in section 179, it states "Computers and related peripheral equipment placed in service after 2017, in tax years ending after 2017, are no longer treated as listed property." Which I assume means that you can can deduct your laptop as an expense instead of depreciating it (if you bought it in 2018 or later). – Joey Dec 9 '19 at 21:50

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