COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 16, 2023 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — In a recent case, Michael Johnson, et ux. v. Commissioner, the tax court denied the majority of a taxpayer’s Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction under IRC §179D since it claimed a §179D Deduction exceeding the cost of the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Property (EECBP), says ICS Tax, LLC.

ICS Tax, LLC - Tax Court Case
Image Caption: Engineering Firm Overstated §179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Property Deduction.


The §179D Deduction is a federal tax incentive designed to promote taxpayers to construct energy efficient buildings as well as encourage building owners to make improvements to existing structures that reduce energy and power costs. At the time of the case, the §179D Deduction provided a maximum deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot of the building’s floor area and applies to interior lighting systems, heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water systems or building envelope. A special rule under §179D provides that architects, engineers, contractors, environmental consultants or energy services providers may also be eligible for the incentive on public projects. However, the amount of the §179D Deduction is limited to cost of the EECBP.

For an updated summary of the heavily revised §179D rules, go to

The Case

In this case, the taxpayer was an engineering firm in the business of installing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The taxpayer installed HVAC systems in a U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital. This engineering firm had the §179D Deduction allocated to them such that they claimed a deduction of $1,073,237 for the 2013 taxable year, which was equal to the product of $1.80 and 596,243, the hospital’s square footage. However, the cost of the EECBP was only $304,640. Hence, the tax court concluded that the §179D deduction was limited to the $304,640 cost of the EECBP.

Many professional service providers lack the expertise to properly analyze the complex tax rules and engineering requirements for the §179D Deduction. For a tax incentive requiring both a thorough knowledge of the tax code and engineering principles, it is essential to hire a fully qualified and experienced team that includes CPAs, attorneys, and professional engineers. It is also essential to thoroughly vet your §179D service provider, and at a minimum, perform an Internet search that can yield critical information.

Author: Alexander Bagne, JD, CPA, MBA, CCSP


ICS Tax, LLC (ICS) is a consulting firm providing innovative tax planning strategies. ICS collaborates with taxpayers and their tax professionals to identify credits and incentives that reduce tax liabilities and increase profitability. ICS provides nationwide service through its offices throughout the country. Learn more:

News Source: ICS Tax LLC