As one of Microsoft’s end of support (EOS) deadlines approaches, many IT providers are reaching out to their clients to inform them of what to do from now until January 2020. Many clients are protesting system changes, concerned primarily with costs — but what if they didn’t need to be?

What many businesses don’t know is that a tax deduction can offset some of these upgrades.

Microsoft’s EOS deadlines: What you need to know

While many IT professionals are aware of Microsoft’s EOS deadlines, you may not be. Maybe you’re unfamiliar with Microsoft’s product lifecycle policies in general, and if that’s the case, there are a few things you should be aware of to ensure your systems are properly protected.

Here’s what you should know at the very least:

  • When a product is released, its lifecycle begins.
  • The product’s lifecycle ends when Microsoft stops supporting it.
  • Staying on top of key dates in a product’s lifecycle helps you with making upgrade decisions.

If this is the first time you’re reading about Microsoft’s EOS deadline, you may need to act sooner than later. Come January 20, 2020, Microsoft is ending support to several of its products, including Windows Server 2008, Windows Small Business Server 2011, SQL Server 2008, Exchange 2010 and Windows 7. Are your systems still running any of the products just mentioned?

When a product reaches EOS, Microsoft will no longer provide the following for the product: technical support for any issues, software updates, and security updates or fixes.

You can still use a product after its EOS date; however, Microsoft does not recommend this. When using a product after its EOS date, you open your systems and networks to malicious malware.

When a product’s lifecycle is nearing its end, the best thing you can do is prepare to upgrade your systems, software, and hardware. Keeping your systems up to date ensures full protection from the evolving threat landscape.

Even if you still need to upgrade your systems before January 2020, there’s still some time, but you must act now — especially if you’d like to lower your taxable income for 2019.

Haven’t heard of Section 179 of the tax code?

Section 179 of the tax code allows businesses to write off up to $2.5 million of business equipment for the current tax year.

The good news is most business equipment qualifies for the deduction, including ventilation and air-conditioning, property, fire protection, alarm systems, and security systems.

What else qualifies for the Section 179 deduction? Computer equipment and what’s known as “off-the-shelf” computer software, both of which are typically necessary to make EOS upgrades.

Using Section 179 to your advantage when preparing for EOS

There are additional costs when upgrading your IT infrastructure, which is why many businesses delay.

Doing nothing is still an action, and in this case, it can be a costly one.

What many businesses fail to realize is not doing anything to prepare for Microsoft’s EOS deadline will cost them more in the long run — especially if hackers hit their networks.

To offset some of your upgrade costs, consider taking the Section 179 deduction — as long as your accountant believes it’s in your best interest to do so.

Consult with your accountant

It may seem like we know what we’re talking about when it comes to Section 179 of the tax code, but our knowledge only goes so far; we’re not tax professionals, so before moving forward with any purchases, talk to an accountant who can better advise you on what’s best for your business.

Don’t wait too long to upgrade your Microsoft products if their EOS dates are approaching. Avoid support gaps by acting as soon as possible and offset some of your upgrade costs by taking advantage of Section 179 of the tax code (of course, if that’s what your accountant recommends).