Business: Wanted: Faster Write-Offs

Businessmen have long agreed that the best way to encourage spending on new plant and equipment is faster tax write-offs on capital goods depreciation. The question for the U.S. Treasury is how to bring the present hodgepodge of depreciation tax rules (not fully revised since 1942) up to date. Last week businessmen themselves suggested a simple, sensible way: more than half of some 3,500 U.S. companies surveyed by the Treasury Department favored a free hand in using their own business judgment in determining the useful life of machinery for tax purposes.

At present, many a company benefits from the regulation that allows...

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