How Do You Depreciate Fitout Costs?

Businesses that make investments in upgrading and tailoring their physical facilities might benefit financially from the practice of depreciating fitout expenditures over time. Fitout costs are the money spent on updating and furnishing a commercial space so that it can serve a specific purpose or look a certain way.

Interior decoration, building maintenance, furniture, fixtures, and equipment are all examples of what might add up to this category of expenditures. Businesses can recover the cost of their fitout assets over time through a tax accounting method called depreciation, which can assist in lowering taxable income and saving money.

In this article, we’ll examine the various fitout cost depreciation strategies, along with their advantages and drawbacks for businesses. Businesses that want to maximise their tax status and efficiently manage their real estate investments may find it useful to learn how to deduct fitout expenditures.

How Do You Depreciate Fitout Costs?

Fitout expenses can be depreciated for tax and accounting purposes by dividing the total cost by the expected lifespan of the corresponding assets. Depreciating the price of renovations can be done in several ways, each of which has pros and cons depending on the nature of the assets being depreciated, how long they are expected to last, and the tax laws in effect. Common approaches to depreciating fitout costs include

Straight-Line Depreciation

  • The straight-line method evenly distributes the fitout costs over the expected useful life of the assets.
  • The formula for straight-line depreciation is (Cost of Fitout – Salvage Value) / Useful Life.
  • Salvage value represents the estimated residual value of the assets at the end of their useful life.
  • This method provides a consistent and straightforward way to depreciate fitout costs.

Declining Balance Depreciation

  • The declining balance method allows for higher depreciation in the earlier years, gradually decreasing as the assets age.
  • This method is often used for assets that have a faster decline in value over time.
  • The depreciation expense is calculated as a percentage (e.g., double or triple the straight-line rate) of the remaining book value of the asset.

Units Of Production Depreciation

  • This method calculates depreciation based on the actual usage or production output of the fitout assets.
  • The formula is: (Cost of Fitout – Accumulated Depreciation) / Total Expected Units of Production.
  • This method is suitable for assets where usage varies over time, such as machinery or equipment.

MACRS (Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System)

  • In the United States, businesses can use the MACRS system for tax purposes to accelerate depreciation deductions.
  • MACRS provides specific recovery periods and depreciation rates for various types of assets, including fitout items.
  • The IRS provides guidelines and tables for calculating depreciation under MACRS.

Component Depreciation

  • Fitout costs can consist of various components, each with a different useful life. In this case, businesses can break down the costs and depreciate each component separately.
  • Component depreciation allows for a more accurate reflection of the assets’ lifespans.

Keeping detailed records of assets, purchase prices, usable life, and salvage values is essential when deducting fitout expenditures. The accuracy of records is crucial for tax purposes and for reporting financial data.

To optimise your tax position while remaining in compliance with applicable laws, it is recommended that you consult with a tax professional or accountant who is well-versed in the tax laws and regulations of your jurisdiction to determine the most appropriate depreciation method and to accurately calculate the depreciation expense for fitout costs.

Why Fit Outs Are Important?

There are several reasons why fit-outs for commercial and retail buildings are crucial. Fitouts encompass the planning, building, and furnishing of a room so that it serves its intended purpose in a way that also looks good. Some of the most compelling arguments in favour of fit-outs include:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Fitouts enhance the visual appeal of a space. An attractive interior design can create a positive impression on customers, clients, and visitors, which can lead to increased foot traffic and business.
  • Branding and Identity: Fitouts allow businesses to express their brand identity and personality. The design, colours, and overall ambience can help reinforce a company’s image and values.
  • Functionality: A well-designed fitout optimizes the functionality of a space. It can create efficient work environments, improve workflow, and provide better customer experiences. This is crucial for businesses aiming to maximize productivity and customer satisfaction.
  • Customization: Fitouts can be tailored to meet specific needs. Businesses can customize spaces to accommodate their unique requirements, such as storage, technology, or specialized equipment.
  • Employee Satisfaction: A well-designed workspace can boost employee morale and productivity. Comfortable, aesthetically pleasing environments can lead to higher job satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Compliance and Safety: Fitouts can ensure that a space complies with safety and accessibility regulations. This is essential for maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for employees and customers.
  • Energy Efficiency: Modern fit-outs often incorporate energy-efficient features, such as LED lighting, insulation, and heating/cooling systems, which can lead to cost savings and a reduced environmental impact.
  • Cost Savings: While there are initial costs associated with fit-outs, they can lead to long-term savings by improving efficiency, reducing maintenance needs, and potentially increasing sales or occupancy rates.
  • Adaptability: Fitouts can be designed to be adaptable. Businesses can reconfigure spaces as their needs change, saving money on future renovations or relocations.
  • Competitiveness: In highly competitive markets, a well-designed fitout can set a business apart from its competitors. It can be a crucial factor in attracting and retaining customers.
  • Retail Success: In the retail industry, fit-outs play a vital role in creating an inviting shopping environment that encourages customers to browse and make purchases.
  • Customer Experience: Fitouts can enhance the overall customer experience, making a space more comfortable and inviting. A positive customer experience can lead to repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Fitouts matter because they affect more than just the visual appeal of a commercial space; they also affect how well it functions, how well it brands itself, and how successful it is overall. Investment in a well-executed fitout, whether it be for an office, retail store, restaurant, or any other type of business, can pay off in spades, both in terms of operational efficiency and customer pleasure.


For tax savings and effective property management, depreciating the cost of renovations is a crucial financial move for businesses. Spreading the cost of fitout assets over their useful lives can be done through the use of different depreciation methods such as straight-line, falling balance, units of production, MACRS, and component depreciation.

Considerations such as asset kind projected useful life, and applicable tax legislation all play a role in determining the most appropriate strategy. Accurate depreciation calculations and compliance with tax rules need careful record-keeping and advice from tax professionals.

There are several reasons why fit-outs are so important for stores and other commercial properties. They boost a room’s visual attractiveness, emphasise a company’s brand, make it easier to use, and allow for individualised decor. Fitouts contribute to employee satisfaction, compliance with safety regulations, and energy efficiency, which can lead to long-term cost savings.

Furthermore, fit-outs that emphasise flexibility and innovation help organisations stand out in crowded marketplaces. Fitouts play a crucial role in the retail industry, helping to create a pleasant environment for shoppers.

In short, a company’s financial health, operational efficiency, and overall success are all interconnected with the depreciation of fitout expenses and the careful design and implementation of fitouts. A more productive and competitive corporate climate can result from giving this consideration.

For more information, read this guide “fit out depreciation”.

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