What Is the Depreciable Life of Computer Software?

Tyler Yates

The depreciable life of computer software is a topic that is often misunderstood by many business owners. It refers to the period of time over which a company can claim tax deductions for the cost of purchasing or developing software. In this article, we will dive deeper into what exactly the depreciable life of computer software means and how it affects your business.

What is Depreciation?

Depreciation is a term used in accounting that refers to the reduction in value of an asset over time due to wear and tear, obsolescence, or any other factor. When it comes to taxes, businesses are allowed to claim a tax deduction for this reduction in value. The concept of depreciation also applies to computer software.

How is Computer Software Depreciated?

In general, there are two ways that computer software can be depreciated: straight-line depreciation and accelerated depreciation.

Straight-Line Depreciation

With straight-line depreciation, the cost of the software is spread out equally over its useful life. For example, if you purchase software for $10,000 and its useful life is estimated to be five years, then you would be able to claim a $2,000 deduction each year for five years.

Accelerated Depreciation

Accelerated depreciation allows businesses to claim larger deductions in earlier years and smaller deductions in later years. This method is often used when assets are expected to lose their value more quickly in their initial years of use. There are different methods of accelerated depreciation such as double-declining balance method or sum-of-the-years-digits method.

What Is The Depreciable Life Of Computer Software?

The depreciable life of computer software depends on several factors such as its intended use, its expected lifespan, and any legal or regulatory requirements. Generally speaking, computer software is considered to have a useful life of three to five years.

Factors That Affect Depreciable Life

The depreciable life of software can depend on its type as well. For example, a business management software may be considered more valuable and have longer useful life than a specialized software that is developed for a specific purpose.

In addition, technological advancements can also affect the depreciable life of computer software. As new and improved versions of the same software are released, the older version may quickly become obsolete, which reduces its value and therefore its depreciable life.


In conclusion, understanding the depreciable life of computer software is important for businesses in order to maximize their tax deductions. Straight-line and accelerated depreciation are two methods that can be used to depreciate computer software.

The depreciable life of computer software depends on several factors such as its intended use, expected lifespan and legal/regulatory requirements. As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, it is important for businesses to regularly review their assets and make adjustments accordingly to remain competitive in their industry.