How can I calculate real estate depreciation tax?

Replacement-cost estimate a key factor

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DEAR BOB: I own rental properties in Las Vegas and have been calculating my depreciation tax expense by using the property tax assessor's tax ratio between land and building value. My problem is that the depreciable building value is very low at only 36 percent to 50 percent. I think I should be taking a bigger depreciation write-off. I've heard of investors using an 80-to-20-percent ratio of building to land. What should I use? --Julie T. DEAR JULIE: The exact answer depends on the type of property. For example, if you own a rental condominium, your building-to-land ratio will probably be about 98 percent to 2 percent. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. The local property tax assessor's ratio of building to land means nothing. He still gets the same market value and property tax no matter what the ratio. All that matters to him is the total property value for tax assessment purposes. When the IRS audited me on this issue several years ago, I showed the IRS agent my property insurance...