Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cube Farms Brought to you by Uncle Sam?

Joel Spolsky wrote recently on building out additional office space. They're choosing to leverage portable walls instead of drywall construction. They took this direction because permanent space improvements depreciate much slower than office equipment expenses.

In this regard, do we really have the IRS to thank for the proliferation of cube farms as opposed to the traditional thinking: mega-corporation? (PS. I'm a firm believer cube farms kill productivity and stifle creativity...I'm not a cow. However, they're much better than a big table housing 11 shoulder-to-shoulder consultants.)
Office furniture can be depreciated much faster than leasehold improvements, over 7 years. So for $20 of office furniture you can deduct about $3 a year: better than nothing. Even better, office furniture is a real asset, so you can lease it. Now you're not out any cash, just a convenient monthly payment, which is 100% deductible.

This is why companies build cubicle farms instead of walls, even though the dollar cost is comparable.

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