# How To Depreciate Assets Using The Straight

The IRS allows businesses to use the straight-line method to write off certain business expenses under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System . When it comes to calculating depreciation with the straight-line method, you must refer to the IRS’s seven property classes to determine an asset’s useful life. These seven classes are for property that depreciates over three, five, seven, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years. For example, office furniture and fixtures fall under the seven-year property class, which is the amount straight line depreciation of time you have to depreciate these assets. Running a business isn’t cheap, especially if your company requires the use of expensive items like heavy-duty machinery, computer software, or vehicles to operate. While the upfront cost of these items can be shocking, calculating depreciation can actually save you money, thanks to IRS tax guidelines. There are multiple ways companies can calculate the depreciation of an item, with the easiest and most common method being the straight-line depreciation method.

However, you can apply other methods to relevant assets and situations. Note that part of the depreciation rate formula’s appeal is its simplicity, though a simple equation might not offer an accurate picture. The straight line depreciation equation assumes a regular decrease in value over its useful lifespan; it doesn’t account for variables that could accelerate its decline. There are good reasons for using both of these methods, and the right one depends on the asset type in question.

## Straight Line Depreciation Formula

Over the useful life of an asset, the value of an asset should depreciate to its salvage value. It is calculated by simply dividing the cost of an asset, less its salvage value, by the useful life of the asset. This is very important because we need to calculate depreciable values or amounts. Second, once the book value or initial capitalization costs of assets are identified, we need to identify the salvages value or the scrap value of assets at the end of the assets’ useful life.

Two less-commonly used methods of depreciation are Units-of-Production and Sum-of-the-years’ digits. We discuss these briefly in the last section of our Beginners Guide to Depreciation. This content is for information purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation. Intuit Inc. does not have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research.

However, the simplicity of a straight-line basis is also one of its biggest drawbacks. Moreover, the straight-line basis does not factor in the accelerated loss of an asset’s value in the short-term, nor the likelihood that it will cost more to maintain as it gets older. The units of production method are based on an asset’s usage, activity, or units of goods produced. Therefore, depreciation would be higher in periods of high usage and lower in periods of low usage. This method can be used to depreciate assets where variation in usage is an important factor, such as cars based on miles driven or photocopiers on copies made. By estimating depreciation, companies can spread the cost of an asset over several years. The straight-line depreciation method is a simple and reliable way small business owners can calculate depreciation.

At commencement, the lessee records a lease asset and lease liability of \$843,533. Because this method is the most universally used, we will present a full example of how to account for straight-line depreciation expense on a finance lease later in our article. Depreciation expense allocates the cost of a company’s use of an asset over its expected useful life. The expense is an income statement line item recognized throughout the life of the asset as a “non-cash” expense.

You can then record your depreciation expense to the general ledger while crediting the accumulated depreciation contra-account for the monthly depreciation expense total. The straight line depreciation method ensures assets are accurately accounted for in a business’ financial statements. If you’re looking for resources to help with your finances, check out these small business accounting software and free accounting software options. In addition to straight-line depreciation, there are other methods of calculating the depreciation of an asset. Different methods of asset depreciation are used to more accurately reflect the depreciation and current value of an asset. A company may elect to use one depreciation method over another in order to gain tax or cash flow advantages.

### What is the formula for depreciation in Excel?

The syntax is =SYD(cost, salvage, life, per) with per defined as the period to calculate the depreciation. The unit used for the period must be the same as the unit used for the life; e.g., years, months, etc.

Therefore, the fittest depreciation method to apply for this kind of asset is the straight-line method. And if the cost of the building is 500,000 USD with a useful life of 50 years. Calculate the estimated useful life of the asset – this is how many years the asset is expected to remain functional and fit-for-purpose. The reason they call it a straight line depreciation might become more apparent if we graph out the value of an asset in an example. Let’s pretend that you have a business and you just bought a car.

And to calculate the annual depreciation rate, we need to divide one by the number of useful life. This method is quite easy and could be applied to most fixed assets and intangible fixed assets. The straight-line depreciation method considers assets used and provides the benefit equally to an entity over its useful life so that the depreciation charge is equally annually.

## Retiring Assets

Intuit Inc. does not warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Salvage Value Of The AssetSalvage value or scrap value is the estimated value of an asset after its useful life is over. For example, if a company’s machinery has a 5-year life and is only valued \$5000 at the end of that time, the salvage value is \$5000. Determine the initial cost of the asset at the time of purchasing. Straight-line depreciation has advantages and disadvantages, and is only one of many other methods used to calculate depreciation. When you purchase an asset, you usually can’t write off the entire cost on your taxes in the year you bought it.

According to the table above, Jim can depreciate the tractor over a three-year period. In the last line of the chart, notice that 25% of \$3,797 is \$949, not the \$797 that’s listed. However, the total depreciation allowed is equal to the initial cost minus the salvage value, which is \$9,000. At the point where this amount is reached, no further depreciation is allowed. Reed, Inc. leases equipment for annual payments of \$100,000 over a 10 year lease term. Bench gives you a dedicated bookkeeper supported by a team of knowledgeable small business experts. We’re here to take the guesswork out of running your own business—for good.

### What are the disadvantages of straight line depreciation?

Straight-line depreciation does not account for the loss of efficiency or the increase in repair expenses over the years and is, therefore, not as suitable for costly assets such as plant and equipment. The functional life span of some assets cannot clearly be estimated.

This is known as accumulated depreciation, which effectively reduces the carrying value of the asset. For example, the balance sheet would show a \$5,000 computer offset by a \$1,600 accumulated depreciation contra account after the first year, so the net carrying value would be \$3,400. There are three other widely-accepted depreciation methods or formulas. An accelerated depreciation method that is commonly used is Double-declining balance.

## Straight Line Depreciation Vs Declining Balance Depreciation: What’s The Difference?

To calculate depreciation using a straight line basis, simply divide net price by the number of useful years of life the asset has. The units of production method is based on an asset’s usage, activity, or units of goods produced. Then the depreciation expenses that should be charged to the build are USD10,000 annually and equally. This method does not apply to the assets that are used or performed are different from time to time.

• That deferred tax asset will be reduced over time until the reported income under GAAP and the reported income to the IRS align at the end of the straight line depreciation schedule.
• If an asset has a useful life of 5 years, then one-fifth of its depreciable cost is depreciated each year.
• We do not “expense” or write-off assets in the manner that we write-off expenses.
• The straight-line method of depreciation is the most common method used to calculate depreciation expense.
• Capitalization is an accounting method in which a cost is included in the value of an asset and expensed over the useful life of that asset.
• He received his masters in journalism from the London College of Communication.
• Each depreciation expense is reported on the income statement for the accounting period, and most businesses report on a 12 month accounting period.

If we are using Straight-line depreciation, the first and the last year of the asset’s useful life would see a half-year depreciation. After an asset has been fully depreciated, it can remain in use as long as it is needed and is in good working order. To learn how to handle the retiring of assets, please see last section of our tutorial Beginner’s Guide to Depreciation. According to the straight-line method of depreciation, your wood chipper will depreciate \$2,400 every year. Purchases are generally most valuable and worth the most amount of money when they are new. Over time, the purchase loses value, and experiences depreciation. Straight line depreciation is the simplest and most often-used formula to determine the diminishing value of physical business assets over the course of their useful lives.

## Sample Full Depreciation Schedule

Each depreciation expense is reported on the income statement for the accounting period, and most businesses report on a 12 month accounting period. The cumulative depreciation is recorded on the balance sheet, and it displays the total depreciation amount from the date the asset was acquired to the date on the balance sheet. A double-declining balance method is a form of accelerated depreciation.

Depreciation is a reduction of a fixed asset’s value over the time the asset is used. And with the straight line depreciation method, the asset’s value is reduced by the same amount each year until the end of its useful life. Accountants like the straight-line method because it is easy to use, renders fewer errors over the life of the asset, and expenses the same amount every accounting period. Unlike more complex methodologies, such as double declining balance, a straight line is simple and uses just three different variables to calculate the amount of depreciation each accounting period.

Also known as straight line depreciation, it is the simplest way to work out the loss of value of an asset over time. So you would get a \$20,000 asset on your property, plant and equipment line of the balance sheet, and depending on how you pay for it. You’re going to show an outflow of \$20,000 for capital expenditures. So as far as depreciation goes, we’re depreciating \$1,500 a year.

In the article, we have seen how the straight line depreciation method can be used to depreciate the value of the asset over the useful life of the asset. It is the easiest and simplest method of depreciation where the cost of the asset is depreciated uniformly over its useful life.

It means that the asset will be depreciated faster than with the straight-line method. The double-declining balance method results in higher depreciation expenses at the beginning of an asset’s life and lower depreciation expenses later. To illustrate straight-line depreciation, assume that a service business purchases equipment on the first day of an accounting year at a cost of \$430,000. Further, the equipment is expected to be used in the business for 10 years. At the end of the 10 years, the company expects to receive the salvage value of \$30,000. In this example, the straight-line depreciation method results in each full accounting year reporting depreciation expense of \$40,000 (\$400,000 of depreciable cost divided by 10 years).

## To Calculate Tax Deductions

While the purchase price of an asset is known, one must make assumptions regarding the salvage value and useful life. These numbers can be arrived at in several ways, but getting them wrong could be costly. Also, a straight line basis assumes that an asset’s value declines at a steady and unchanging rate. This may not be true for all assets, in which case a different method should be used. Accountants like the straight line method because it is easy to use, renders fewer errors over the life of the asset, and expenses the same amount everyaccounting period.

Straight line basis is popular because it is easy to calculate and understand, although it also has several drawbacks. Daniel Liberto is a journalist with over 10 years of experience working with publications such as the Financial Times, The Independent, and Investors Chronicle. He received his masters in journalism from the London College of Communication. Daniel is an expert in corporate finance and equity investing as well as podcast and video production. Note how the book value of the machine at the end of year 5 is the same as the salvage value.

Divide the resulting number by the asset’s useful life (# of years). But the IRS uses the accelerated/MACRS or Section 179 for certain assets, including intangible assets like copyrights, patents, and trademarks. The value of an asset should always depreciate to its salvage value. It is easiest to use the standard useful life for each class of assets. Existing accounting rules allow for a maximum useful life of five years for computers, but your business has upgraded its hardware every three years in the past.

The straight-line depreciation method is the easiest way of calculating depreciation and is used by accountants to compute the depreciation of long-term assets. However, this depreciation method isn’t always the most accurate, especially if an asset doesn’t have a set pattern of use over time. This means items like computers and tablets often depreciate much quicker in their early useful life while tapering off later on in their useful life.

Joshua Kennon co-authored “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Investing, 3rd Edition” and runs his own asset management firm for the affluent. Ken Boyd is a co-founder of AccountingEd.com and owns St. Louis Test Preparation (AccountingAccidentally.com). He provides blogs, videos, and speaking services on accounting and finance.

For the first year, the double declining balance method takes the depreciation rate from the straight-line method and doubles it. For subsequent years, this method uses the same doubled rate on the remaining balance, instead of being based on the original purchase value. The declining balance method calculates more depreciation expense initially, and uses a percentage of the asset’s current book value, as opposed to its initial cost. So, the amount of depreciation declines over time, and continues until the salvage value is reached. There are a lot of reasons businesses choose to use the straight line depreciation method. Because of this, the double-declining balance depreciation method records higher depreciation expense in the beginning years and less depreciation in later years. This method is commonly used by companies with assets that lose their value or become obsolete more quickly.

How To Depreciate Assets Using The Straight