# What Is Depreciation?

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This means the same amount of amortization expense is recognized each year. On the other hand, there are several depreciation methods a company can choose from. These options differentiate the amount of depreciation expense a company may recognize in a given year, yielding different net income calculations based on the option chosen.

• Depreciation recapture is a provision of the tax law that requires businesses or individuals that make a profit in selling an asset that they have previously depreciated to report it as income.
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• Depreciation represents how much of the asset’s value has been used up in any given time period.
• The original office building may be a bit rundown but it still has value.
• Without Section 1250, strategic house-flippers could buy property, quickly write off a portion of it, and then sell it for a profit without giving the IRS their fair share.

Instead of recording an asset’s entire expense when it’s first bought, depreciation distributes the expense over multiple years. Depreciation quantifies the declining value of a business asset, based on its useful life, and balances out the revenue it’s helped to produce. Here are four common methods of calculating annual depreciation expenses, along with when it’s best to use them.

## Annuity depreciation

Depreciation on all assets is determined by using the straight-line-depreciation method. The sum-of-the-years’ digits (SYD) method also allows for accelerated depreciation. You start by combining all the digits of the expected life of the asset. One often-overlooked benefit of properly recognizing depreciation in your financial statements is that the calculation can help you plan for and manage your business’s cash requirements.

Accumulated depreciation on any given asset is its cumulative depreciation up to a single point in its life. Units of production depreciation is based on how many items a piece of equipment can produce. To do the straight-line method, you choose to depreciate your property at an equal amount for each year over its useful lifespan. An amortization schedule is often used to calculate a series of loan payments consisting of both principal and interest in each payment, as in the case of a mortgage. Though different, the concept is somewhat similar; as a loan is an intangible item, amortization is the reduction in the carrying value of the balance.

## Effect on cash

The group depreciation method is used for depreciating multiple-asset accounts using a similar depreciation method. The assets must be similar in nature and have approximately the same useful lives. New assets are typically more valuable than older ones for a number of reasons. Depreciation measures the value an asset loses over time—directly from ongoing use through wear and tear and indirectly from the introduction of new product models and factors like inflation.

• The sum-of-the-years’ digits (SYD) method also allows for accelerated depreciation.
• In the accounting context, businesses want their profits to seem high or low for a variety of reasons.
• In theory, more expense should be expensed during this time because newer assets are more efficient and more in use than older assets.

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. That means that the same amount is expensed in each period over the asset’s useful life. Assets that are expensed using the amortization method typically don’t have any resale or salvage value. Below is the summary of all four depreciation methods from the examples above.

## How Does Depreciation Differ From Amortization?

The sum-of-the-years digits method is an example of depreciation in which a tangible asset like a vehicle undergoes an accelerated method of depreciation. Under the sum-of-the-years digits method, a company recognizes a heavier portion of depreciation expense during the earlier years of an asset’s life. In theory, more expense should be expensed during this time because newer assets are more efficient and more in use than older assets. The formulas for depreciation and amortization are different because of the use of salvage value.

Under this method, the annual depreciation is determined by multiplying the depreciable cost by a schedule of fractions. Depreciation recapture is a provision of the tax law that requires businesses or individuals that make a profit in selling an asset that they have previously depreciated to report it as income. In effect, the amount of money they claimed in depreciation is subtracted from the cost basis they use to determine their gain in the transaction. Recapture can be common in real estate transactions where a property that has been depreciated for tax purposes, such as an apartment building, has gained in value over time. This method, which is often used in manufacturing, requires an estimate of the total units an asset will produce over its useful life.

## What Is Depreciation Recapture?

With natural resources assets, such as an oil or gas reservoir, the depletion of the resource causes depreciation. The pace of depletion changes when a company alters its estimate of reserves remaining. This condition is most applicable to inventory, rather than fixed assets. Depletion is another way that the cost of business assets can be established in certain cases.

## Depreciable basis

In some cases, it makes more sense to calculate depreciation by measuring the work the asset does, rather than the time it serves. So, in this depreciation method, equal expense rates are assigned to each unit of production, meaning that depreciation is based on output capacity rather than number of years. There are two steps you’ll need to go through to calculate units of production depreciation. Generally speaking, there is accounting guidance via GAAP on how to treat different types of assets.

## depreciation

You’ll need to understand the ins and outs to choose the right depreciation method for your business. Large items can affect the balance sheet, income statements, and taxes for businesses and individuals, but because many of the items last many years, they must be reported over multiple years. The method of allocating cost over the useful life of an asset each year is referred to as depreciation. The purpose of depreciation is to match the cost of a productive asset, that has a useful life of more than a year, to the revenues earned by using the asset. The asset’s cost is usually spread over the years in which the asset is used.