You are considering whether to replace an existing flow meter in an ongoing operation. A change in the meter will have not affect revenues but will reduce costs. The existing meter can be sold now for $50 or it can be sold in one year for $10. It will cost $35 (in yearend values) to operate and maintain for one year and $75 (in yearend values) to operate and maintain for a second year. A new electronic meter costs $400 and has a 10 year life. At the end of the ten-year life you expect to be able to sell the new meter for $40. The new meter costs only $14 per year to operate and maintain. Assume the appropriate risk-adjusted cost of capital is 12%.
(a) If there were no taxes, what would you recommend?
(b) Now suppose there is a corporate tax rate of 34%, the book value of the old meter is zero while the new meter can be depreciated straight-line over 10 years. Would your recommendation change?
(c) How does the percentage change in the cost of keeping the old meter before and after the tax compare with the percentage change in the cost of a new meter as a result of the tax?
(d) What feature of the tax system results in the asymmetric effect of the tax on the cost of the old and new meter?