As mentioned in a previous post IRS code section 179 allows dentists to deduct equipment expenses. The following comes from Henry Schein Financial Services.
IRS Section 179
Acquire capital equipment in 2009, and you are most likely able to deduct up to $250,000 Capital leases qualify for a tax deduction for the year they are placed in service. Any excess above the allowable deduction can be depreciated over five to seven years, depending on the type of equipment. Additional amounts may be expensed as per applicable depreciation schedules.
According to Natalie Westfall a director of Henry Schein Financial they have money and are willing to lend it to dentists. So if you can get the bucks and Uncle Sam is willing to give you a tax break for spending them what should you be buying?
My #1 tech investment recommendation is to make sure you have a good complete office network. No other tech investment will give you as fast a retun on investment or allow you to do so many more things with technology. So this is the year to add computers to all the treatment rooms, put a workstation in the lab, upgrade the server, improve your security, and anything else you may have been putting off. This will cost a typical dental office between $20 to $25,000. A big multidoctor office will of couse spend more.
#2 is digital radiography. If you have #1, that is a complete up to date safe and speedy network, then you need to have digital radiography. Adding a sensor system to an exisitng network will cost less than $15,000. Adding a digital panoramic will cost around $30,000.
Now for the BIG BUCKS. If you are a surgeon, an orthodontist or any dentist who places more than three or four implants a month you should consider a cone beam CT. Orthodontists will need a full head volume like the i-Cat which will be over $170,000 with all the whistles and bells. If you are just looking to pre-plan for implants a Gendex GB500 with a smaller volume will be adequate and it costs closer to $119,000.
The other big buck tech device is CAD-CAM. Either the Cerec or E4D. Both run a bit over $100,000. If you are a general restorative dentist placing three or more indirect lab onlays a week and if your lab bill is over $80,000 a year then you may be a good candidate for CAD-CAM.
Remember in order to get the tax break, which effectively reduces your actual cash expense by about 30%, you need to have the item installed before the end of the year.