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2011, November

Tax Deduction on Equipment Used for Business Purchased by 12/31/2011
Clark Heintz Tools & Equipment LLC encourages you to strike while the iron is hot! With the Section 179 Deduction, Tax breaks are offered for equipment purchased for professional use. Buy before year end (Dec. 31. 2011) and get your tax break! Nov 3, 2011 Important 4th quarter tax planning implications. Both the 'Tax Relief Act of 2010' as well as the 'Jobs Act of 2010' that passed in late 2010 affected Section 179 in a positive way for this 2011 tax year. The newest changes are as follows: The Section 179 Deduction limit increased to $500,000. The total amount of equipment that can be purchased increased to $2 million. This includes most new and used capital equipment, and also includes certain software. “Bonus Depreciation” increased to 100% on qualified assets. However, this can be taken on new equipment only. When applying these provisions, Section 179 is generally taken first, followed by Bonus Depreciation – unless the business has no taxable profit in 2011. Also, many businesses find Section 179 Qualified Financing to be an attractive option in 2011. Material goods that generally qualify for the Section 179 Deduction Please keep in mind that to qualify for the Section 179 Deduction, the below equipment must be purchased and put into use between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. -Equipment (machines, etc) purchased for business use -Tangible personal property used in business -Business Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 6,000 lbs (Section 179 Vehicle Deductions) -Computers -Computer Software ( "Off-the-Shelf" Software) -Office Furniture -Office Equipment -Property attached to your building that is not a structural component of the building (i.e.: a printing press, large manufacturing tools and equipment) -Partial Business Use (equipment that is purchased for business use and personal use - generally, your deduction will be based on the percentage of time you use the equipment for business purposes).
Introduction to J2534 and Flash Reprogramming *Edited and reposted from Drew Technologies

The days of diagnosing and repairing automobiles without a laptop are fading. Newer vehicles have large number of onboard computers, each dedicated to performing specific tasks. Common onboard computers in newer vehicles include the Engine Control Module (ECM), Transmission Control Module (TCM), Fuel Injection Control Module (FICM), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Body Control Module (BCM) and numerous other control modules to manage every electronic system integrated into the vehicle. Each onboard computer is programmed at the factory with software enabling it to perform certain tasks. Inside the ECM is software containing hundreds or even thousands of parameters to control spark, fuel, cruising, emissions, idle, economy, drivability, and performance. Similarly, a TCM will have software to control how the transmission and torque converter function. Sometimes, after the vehicle is shipped from the automaker, updates are released to improve emissions, fuel economy, drivability, performance, or specific bugs in the original software that have caused warranty issues. Updating this software can be a proactive fix because often it will resolve problems that a customer hasn’t reported or noticed yet...

The practice of updating software in these modules is more commonly known as flash reprogramming. At new car dealerships, flash reprogramming is a relatively straightforward process because service technicians are connected to the automaker and have the expensive, specialized tools dedicated to reprogramming. The independent repair shops have faced a more difficult challenge because most shops typically service more than one make of automobiles. This increases the complexity, cost, and training required to operate dozens of different factory service tools. J2534 – A Solution Arrives In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency had been watching this issue and decided to take action. The EPA requested a standard be developed within the SAE that led to J2534, a mandated specification to which automakers who sell vehicles in the United States must conform. The original J2534 specification was later updated to J2534-1 in order to support all automakers. The EPA mandate requires automakers to support aftermarket repair shops with J2534-1 flash reprogramming for any emissions-related computer modules on a vehicle that can be reprogrammed by a new car dealership. This mandate took effect for all 2004 and newer vehicles, but many automakers have decided to offer J2534-1 support for vehicles older than 2004 and some vehicles as early as model year 1996. J2534-1 is a system devised of two independent parts: subscription software and a J2534-1 compliant PassThru vehicle interface. The subscription software comes directly from the automaker, runs on your shop PC or laptop, and can either be web-based or CD-based. The subscription fees are charged differently for each automaker. Some automakers such as GM charge an annual fee for full access, while others have options for paying: per-vehicle, daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. Many of these services also include bonus features beyond flash reprogramming. FMP from Ford lets repair shops reprogram transponder keys, and other automakers are beginning to support diagnostic functionality. Stay tuned. We will continue to post more installments from "Introduction to J2534 and Flash Reprogramming," including our next installment, information about J2534-1 compliant PassThru vehicle interface.