Is it better to buy or lease business assets? The answer can be complicated. One rule of thumb: It's generally better to lease assets that will substantially decrease in value over time. Conversely, if the asset is expected to last longer than five years, the long-term costs associated with leasing may be greater than buying.
Leasing can be advantageous because:
- A smaller initial outlay of cash is required since there's generally no down payment.
- Lease contracts often come with easier credit terms.
- Payments are generally fully deductible for tax purposes.
- A lease may include maintenance support (although this is reflected in higher lease payments).
On the other hand, leasing also has disadvantages, such as:
- Over the life of the asset, the cost may be greater.
- You have no equity in the asset, no matter how long you lease it.
- You lose the tax benefit of depreciating your asset (or expensing it under Section 179).
- You are generally committed for the life of the lease.
These are just a few considerations involved in the decision to lease or buy. Before you lock yourself into a contract, examine how it will affect cash flow, taxes and other factors.
Contact us. We can help decide whether to lease or purchase business assets. These decisions can have long-term implications.