There’s still hope that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s (TCJA) changes to Section 174, requiring amortization for research and experimental (R&E) expenses, could be delayed or repealed. Under the TCJA, as of January 1, 2022, domestic R&E expenditures are required to be amortized over 5 years and foreign R&E expenditures over 15 years. Prior to January 1, 2022 taxpayers had been able to write-off 100% of R&E costs.
The new definition of R&E expenditures under Section 174 also includes software development costs. Previously, under Revenue Procedure 2000-50, taxpayers had the option to immediately expense or amortize software development costs over a period of 36 or 60 months. With the TCJA change, these options are no longer available. Domestic software development costs must be amortized over 5 years and foreign software development must be amortized over 15 years.