WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Chair Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) today introduced legislation to make permanent the enhanced Section 179 expensing limits enacted in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Specifically, the bill will aid small businesses by allowing them to deduct up to $250,000 of the cost of qualifying property in the year it is purchased, rather than to recover such outlays through depreciation deductions over a number of years.

“Small businesses continue to struggle as a result of the current recession, and many are having trouble finding capital to make job-creating new investments,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “Our bill will permanently allow small businesses to expense up to $250,000 of new investments, enabling them to acquire vital new facilities and equipment. By permitting small businesses to deduct more of their equipment purchases today, they will retain substantial savings instead of waiting a period of years to recover their costs through depreciation. Additionally, this change would simultaneously save small firms the vital time currently required to comply with complex and confusing depreciation rules.”

“The $250,000 expensing limit put into place in the Recovery Act has produced a positive economic impact for the nation’s small businesses,” Chair Landrieu said. “By making this limit permanent, small business owners will have a valuable incentive to make investments in business assets critical to business growth and important to remaining competitive in the global marketplace.”

The ARRA signed into law in February set the maximum amount that a taxpayer may expense in 2009 at $250,000. Subsequently, under current law, the maximum amount that may be expensed will be approximately $133,000 in 2010 and $25,000 in 2011. The Snowe-Landrieu bill would permanently set the maximum amount at $250,000.

Ranking Member Snowe has previously introduced legislation to raise the expensing limit to $200,000 in both 2007 and 2008. Both she and Chair Landrieu successfully advocated for the language that was included in the ARRA.