Same Thing: Depreciation
[Reprinted from an undated pamphlet, Simple Talks
on Taxation, published by the author]
... You was sayin',
while ago, that the land ought to pay all the taxes.
I said the public should collect what yon might call Tax-rent or
Rent-tax . . . the full rental value of the site or area. But no
tax on improvements.
You call land "site or
area" as though it was only so many feet by so many feet.
what's wrong with that?
But s'pose a feller had
some land and he had to build a bulkhead or lay a spur track or
grade part of it, that'd add value, wouldn't it?
to the land as a site. Those would be improvements, wouldn't
Yeah. But he couldn't take
'em away, and nobody'd pay him for 'em if he couldn't sell the
it's safe to say that he wouldn't put them in if he didn't need
to, and expected to use them for a long time.
What's that go to do with
it? If he had to get out and couldn't sell 'em with the land,
he'd lose what they cost.
Why wouldn't I be sure?
might lose a part, but they'd be improvements, wouldn't they?
What difference does that
you're business man enough to know what depreciation is, aren't
I sure am.
is it, then?
Why, it's anynl'y writin'
off part of the cost of improvement.
he'd only lose the balance he hadn't written off.
strictly speaking, if he had to get out after, say, twenty
years, his improvements would be written off and he could
He wouldn't want to. They
might still have some sale value.
they might be an encumbrance that the new owner would have to
get rid of.
He wouldn't want to abandon them and in moat cases, just the
same as now, he could sell them. And whatever he got would be
velvet, in an accounting sense.
I s'pose so.
he had to get out under present conditions he'd be in just as
tough a spot as he would under Tax-rent or Rent-tax.
Well, you always work it
'round so you come out on the right side. I wish you was as good
about somethin' important, like who's gonna lick who in the