Buddy Dewar of the National Fire Sprinkler Association passed on the following about the tax bill that just passed congress. He has worked on this since 2003. Large congratulations are in order for their work. He gave me permission to distribute to our members a letter he wrote to the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association about some of the details in the bill regarding sprinklers and alarms. This applies only to EXISTING buildings contemplating upgrades, but it is none-the-less significant; consider the following:

Written to the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association December 21, 2017 by Buddy Dewar, National Fire Sprinkler Association:

“Senator Collins from Maine and Congressman Langevin from RI have pushed this issue for years – The Station Nightclub is in Langevin’s district.  Language was added in Section 13101 of the Federal Tax Bill that just passed Congress.  Unfortunately, it appears that the high-rise retrofit language has been removed and the focus on fire sprinkler has been expanded to now include alarm systems, HVAC and other building upgrade features.

The substance of the bill allows a complete write-off of fire sprinkler retrofit, alarm upgrades and other features under Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code for commercial buildings.  The total write-off allowance in Section 179 of the tax code has been increased from $500,000 to $1,000,000.  Our DC lobbyist indicated concerns that including residential occupancies might greatly overwhelm the funding allocation and may even expand to single-family led to removing residential in the Section 179 language.

So after January 1, 2018, when fire safety features such as fire sprinkler retrofit or alarm upgrades occur in an existing commercial building the owner can write off up to $1,000,000 under Section 179.  This will reduce the negative pushback in our role of code enforcement.

Still reviewing the 500+ page Congressional tax bill and more details will be shared when known.  First review appears to prohibit write-off for newly constructed add-ons to existing buildings – again more details will be shared when known.

A special shoutout to the great NFSA who has funded lobby efforts on this issue for 17 years while other associations whose members will benefit from this law zipped up their wallets.  If it were not for the dedication espoused by Congressman Langevin and Senator Collins and the continued support from NFSA President Shane Ray, dedicated efforts from Jim Dalton and NFSA’s great lobbyist in DC Andy Quinn, this economic incentive would not have passed.

Buddy Dewar,

National Fire Sprinkler Association”