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The tax authorities have reacted to the rapid technological progress in the computer area by reducing the standard scheduled depreciation period for computers, peripheral devices, and software to four years (previously five years). The new shorter depreciation period applies to items purchased or produced from 1 July 1997 onwards (OFD Berlin DB 1997, 1369 - 6 June 1997). The standard depreciation period refers to the period which the tax authorities will normally accept without challenge. The taxpayer is in theory free to prove that a shorter period applies in his specific circumstances or to claim a writedown for extraordinary reasons.

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