depreciation expense meaning

Based on these assumptions, the depreciable amount is $4,000 ($5,000 cost – $1,000 salvage value). Buildings and structures can be depreciated, but land is not eligible for depreciation. Depreciation, as a concept in economics, has significant implications in the context of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. It plays a critical role in the sound management of corporate assets and resources.

depreciation expense meaning

Where it differs is that it refers to the gradual exhaustion of natural resource reserves, as opposed to the wearing out of depreciable assets or the aging life of intangibles. Depletion is another way that the cost of business assets can be established in certain cases. For example, an oil well has a finite life before all of the oil is pumped out. Therefore, the oil well’s setup costs can be spread out over the predicted life of the well. For example, a business may buy or build an office building, and use it for many years. The cost of the building, minus its resale value, is spread out over the predicted life of the building, with a portion of the cost being expensed in each accounting year.


In the end, the sum of accumulated depreciation and scrap value equals the original cost. The table below illustrates the units-of-production depreciation schedule of the asset. Suppose depreciation expense meaning an asset has original cost $70,000, salvage value $10,000, and is expected to produce 6,000 units. The four methods described above are for managerial and business valuation purposes.

Canada Revenue Agency specifies numerous classes based on the type of property and how it is used. Under the United States depreciation system, the Internal Revenue Service publishes a detailed guide which includes a table of asset lives and the applicable conventions. The table also incorporates specified lives for certain commonly used assets (e.g., office furniture, computers, automobiles) which override the business use lives.

Amortization vs. Depreciation Example

The salvage value is typically set at a percentage slightly less than the original cost, and may vary depending on the type and condition of the depreciable asset. Depreciation is used to reduce the amount of income that is subject to tax, but it can’t be deducted in the year the asset was purchased. In conclusion, depreciation not only reflects the economic cost of asset usage but also the environmental and social costs. The way a company handles depreciation can therefore serve as a mirror to its approach towards sustainable development and corporate citizenship.

  • The rules of some countries specify lives and methods to be used for particular types of assets.
  • Companies that understand depreciation can make savvier decisions about everything from tax planning to funding strategies, driving profitability and strategic growth.
  • It doesn’t depreciate an asset quite as quickly as double declining balance depreciation, but it does it quicker than straight-line depreciation.
  • The company in the future may want to allocate as little depreciation expenses as possible to help with additional expenses.

However, many tax systems permit all assets of a similar type acquired in the same year to be combined in a “pool”. Depreciation is then computed for all assets in the pool as a single calculation. One half of a full period’s depreciation is allowed in the acquisition period (and also in the final depreciation period if the life of the assets is a whole number of years). United States rules require a mid-quarter convention for per property if more than 40% of the acquisitions for the year are in the final quarter.

Annuity depreciation

This carries immense significance because it offers a realistic representation of the asset’s current worth, thus ensuring that the balance sheet presents a fair view of a company’s status. Despite their similar impacts, using depreciation or amortization depends on the nature of the asset itself. Thus, understanding the difference is vital in accurately assessing a company’s financial state and making sound business and investment decisions. On balance sheets, depreciation reduces the value of an asset, thus decreasing the total asset value.