News & Notes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-97) included a major provision of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, legislation that was first introduced in 2003 shortly after the Station Club Fire in West Warwick, RI that claimed the lives of 100 victims. CFSI has been a part of a coalition of public safety organization that has advocated for passage of the legislation since it was first introduced. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included incentives for businesses to retrofit their properties with automatic fire sprinkler systems. Unfortunately, due to a drafting error in the bill, the incentives were not nearly as far-reaching as originally believed. This error has left business improvements with a 39-year depreciation period rather than the 15 years that Congress intended. And, these improvements - including fire sprinklers - are now ineligible for bonus depreciation that would allow property owners of commercial buildings to fully deduct the cost of a sprinkler system for the next five years. 
 
CFSI, the National Fire Sprinkler Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and many other public safety organizations, have been working with Congress to correct this drafting error. We are asking you to take a moment to contact your members of Congress and urge them to support legislation to make this technical correction. Click hereto send a customizable message to your members of Congress. We would suggest using the following language:
 
“I am contacting you about the Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) technical error in the 2017 tax bill. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97) contained a drafting error that lengthened the depreciation for QIPs, including fire sprinklers, to 39 years. This error has left business improvements with a 39-year depreciation period rather than the 15 years Congress intended. In addition, these improvements are now ineligible for bonus depreciation. As a result, countless QIP-related projects have been delayed, including fire protection systems, such as automatic fire sprinkler systems.
 
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire sprinklers save lives in structural fires by up to 87%. The technical error in P.L. 115-97 discourages businesses from investing in this life-saving technology. Now, they can only write off 2.5 percent of improvements this year - rather than the intended 100% bonus depreciation - resulting in them holding off on making certain improvements. Firefighters and the public are at put at risk when necessary renovations -like the addition of fire sprinkler systems and other upgrades - are not made. Please include a technical correction for the QIP drafting error in any end-of-year tax bill.
 
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.”
 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact CFSI at (202) 371-1277 orupate@cfsi.org. Thank you.