TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, May 25, 2012

Websites and Intangible Asset Amortization Under § 197

Christopher H. Bowen (Tax LL.M. 2012, Northwestern), Comment, Websites and Intangible Asset Amortization Under 26 U.S.C. Section 197: A Marriage That Bears Little Fruit, 16 Marq. Intell. Prop. L. Rev. 181 (2012):

[I]s the website an asset that can be merely capitalized and act as a recovery of basis, or can it be amortized and written off before being sold to a different buyer? The tax code and regulations provide several potential methods to answer this question. This Comment will explore the interactions between some of those tax code provisions, specifically § 197, and to a lesser degree, Revenue Procedure 2000-50, and the intellectual property rights associated with websites. Part II of this Comment presents a hypothetical, which will demonstrate how a website’s intellectual property rights interact with some of the current tax laws. Part III will briefly explore how the intellectual property rights of copyright, patent, and trademark apply to websites, with particular emphasis on the issues that copyrights have with websites. Part IV will explore the history of intangible asset amortization, which culminated in the creation of § 197 in 1993. Part IV will discuss the way websites’ intellectual property rights interact with § 197 and Revenue Procedure 2000-50. Part V of this Comment will discuss conclusions and some potential solutions for the problems presented by the tax code and regulations.

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