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IRVING, Texas — The Electronic Security Association (ESA) requested Congress to amend two bills that would allow fire protection in buildings to include fire detection and suppression.
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) introduced H.R. 1792 on May 5. On May 19, Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del) introduced S. 1035, the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2011. Both bills amend the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) of 1986 to include automated fire sprinkler systems as Section 179 property. The legislation classifies certain automated sprinkler systems as 15-year property for purposes of depreciation. Currently, a fire sprinkler retrofit in a commercial building is depreciated over 39 years and a residential building over 27-and-a-half years.
According to Schock's office, the legislation "avoids state imposed mandates and specifically makes fire sprinkler systems eligible to be included in Section 179 of the tax code. Section 179 already allows small- and medium-sized businesses to fully expense certain types of equipment purchase like machines, equipment, vehicles and computers. This change would allow small- and medium-sized property owners to fully deduct the cost of sprinklers systems up to $125,000."
ESA maintains that automated fire sprinkler systems, as well as life-safety fire and smoke alarms, offer separate benefits; thus, one system should not take precedent over the other. Currently, automated fire sprinkler systems do not issue early notifications for building occupants. Therefore, building and fire safety codes require the installation of both sprinklers and fire detection systems. This has prompted ESA to recommend legislative changes to H.R. 1792 and S. 1035 to include life-safety fire and smoke alarms.
The bills have been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means and Senate Committee on Finance.
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