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Alternative depreciation system (ADS) definition

What is the alternative depreciation system (ADS) and why is it used? 
The ADS requires depreciation to be calculated using the straight-line method. This is done by dividing the cost of the property by the alternative recovery period. In some cases, the recovery period is the same as for the basic system; in others, it is longer.

An election to use ADS may be helpful, for example, if you are first starting out and do not have sufficient income to offset large depreciation deductions. Use of ADS can help to avoid alternative minimum tax and the special depreciation computations required for alternative minimum tax. 
Brain Trust contributor: Author of J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2007
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