The Complete Guide Towards Calculating Straight Line Depreciation Through Formula

straight line depreciation formula

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  • In the straight-line depreciation method, the cost of a fixed asset is reduced equally in each period of its useful life till it reaches its residual value.
  • This article defines straight-line depreciation and explains the depreciation formula.
  • The straight-line method is the most common method used to record depreciation.
  • Plus, learn more about ways to calculate the expense, and how depreciation impacts financial statements.

Business owners use it when they cannot predict changes in the amount of depreciation from one year to the next. Depreciation expenses are posted to recognize an asset’s decline in value. The straight-line method is the most common method used to record depreciation.

Keep in mind that we are assuming that we put this asset into service at the beginning of the year. In the last section of this tutorial we discuss how to handle depreciation when an asset is put into service in the middle of the year. If this was the company’s only asset, the Balance Sheet would show a zero balance for Fixed Assets.

Depreciation first becomes deductible when an asset is placed in service. Units of production depreciation differs from other methods in that it does not depreciate an asset based on its periods of life, but rather on its production detail. In this method, an asset is assumed to have a fixed lifetime production capacity—a maximum number of units it can produce. Thus, a fixed amount of depreciation is allotted to each unit of production. The net book value of the asset is then multiplied by the number of units that are produced in a period over the remaining units to be produced to determine how much depreciation to take for that period. Every asset you acquire has a set value at the time of purchase, but that value changes over time.

Step 1: Calculate The Cost Of The Asset

The straight-line depreciation method implies that each full financial year charges the same amount of an asset’s initial cost. To find the annual depreciation expense, it is necessary to make certain assumptions about an asset’s useful life and salvage value. It’s always difficult to know which depreciation method to apply when you’re doing your accounts, and there are many advantages and disadvantages straight line depreciation formula associated with each method. That’s why it’s a good idea to focus your attention on the nature of your business’s assets. If so, it’s best to use the straight-line method of depreciation. In that case, you may be best served with the double declining balance method. Remember, depreciation can have a significant effect on cash flow, so it helps to get this decision right from the start.

straight line depreciation formula

You would move $5,000 from the cash and cash equivalents line of the balance sheet to the property, plant, and equipment line of the balance sheet. Joshua Kennon co-authored “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Investing, 3rd Edition” and runs his straight line depreciation formula own asset management firm for the affluent. By subscribing, you agree to receive communications from FreshBooks and acknowledge and agree to FreshBook’s Privacy Policy. And, a life, for example, of 7 years will be depreciated across 8 years.

According to straight-line depreciation, your MacBook will depreciate $300 every year. Its scrap or salvage value of the asset—the price you think you can sell it for at the end of its useful life.

Retiring Assets

Rules vary highly by country, and may vary within a country based on the type of asset or type of taxpayer. Many systems that specify depreciation lives and methods for financial reporting require the same lives and methods be used for tax purposes. Most tax systems provide different rules for real property retained earnings balance sheet (buildings, etc.) and personal property (equipment, etc.). Depreciation is thus the decrease in the value of assets and the method used to reallocate, or “write down” the cost of a tangible asset over its useful life span. Businesses depreciate long-term assets for both accounting and tax purposes.

U.S. tax depreciation is computed under the double-declining balance method switching to straight line or the straight-line method, at the option of the taxpayer. IRS tables specify percentages to apply to the basis of an asset for each year in which it is in service.

Before we get into the formula, let’s look at some details you’ll need to understand before going through with the actual calculation. Our priority at The Blueprint is helping businesses find the best solutions to improve their bottom lines and make owners smarter, happier, and richer. That’s why our editorial opinions and reviews are ours alone and aren’t inspired, endorsed, or sponsored by an advertiser.

This method is useful for assets that depreciate quickly after purchase, like computers, which lose their value very quickly, even though they might operate well for a long time. 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.

What is depreciation and its types?

Depreciation is the accounting process of converting the original costs of fixed assets such as plant and machinery, equipment, etc into the expense. It refers to the decline in the value of fixed assets due to their usage, passage of time or obsolescence. One such factor is the depreciation method.

For specific assets, the newer they are, the faster they depreciate in value. In these situations, the declining balance method tends to be more accurate than the straight-line method at reflecting book value each year. For accounting in particular, depreciation concerns allocating the cost of an asset over a period of time, usually its useful life. When a company purchases an asset, such as a piece of equipment, such large purchases can skewer the income statement confusingly. Instead of appearing as a sharp jump in the accounting books, this can be smoothed by expensing the asset over its useful life.


Below, we’ve provided you with some straight line depreciation examples. 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. For example, let’s say that you buy new computers for your business at an initial cost of $12,000, and you depreciate their value at 25% per year. If we estimate the salvage value at $3,000, this is a total depreciable cost of $10,000.

Businesses that didn’t have their books together had a really hard time applying for and getting their stimulus cheques approved. The method reflects on the consumption of every asset owned by a company or an individual. Here’s how you will calculate the depreciation for your smartphone. The calculation of depreciation helps you know the current market value of any asset that you own, should you decide to sell it. The depreciable amount of the vehicle is $15,000 ($20,000 cost minus $5,000 residual value) and useful life is 4 years.

Generally, the cost is allocated as depreciation expense among the periods in which the asset is expected to be used. If depreciation is assumed to be incurred in equal amounts in each business period over the life of the asset, the depreciation method used is straight line . If the expense is assumed to be incurred in decreasing amounts in each business period over the life of the asset, the method used is said to be accelerated. Two commonly used methods of the accelerating the depreciation of an asset are the sum-of-years digits and the declining balance methods. Frequently, accelerated depreciation is chosen for a business’ tax expense but straight line is chosen for its financial reporting purposes. The straight-line depreciation method is one of the most popular depreciation methods that use to charged depreciation expenses from fixed assets equally period assets’ useful life. There are a lot of reasons businesses choose to use the straight line depreciation method.

How do you depreciate tools?

You can fully deduct small tools with a useful life of less than one year. Deduct them the year you buy them. However, if the tools have a useful life of more than one year, you must depreciate them. You can usually depreciate tools over a seven-year recovery period or use the Section 179 expense deduction.

You can’t get a good grasp of the total value of your assets unless you figure out how much they’ve depreciated. This is especially important for businesses that own a lot of expensive, long-term assets that have long useful lives.

Example 2: Proportional Depreciation

Using the straight-line depreciation method, the business finds the asset’s depreciable base is $40,000. Finishing the formula, the business finds the asset’s annual depreciation amount is $4,000. The entire value of the asset ($40,000 depreciable base) will be reclassified into the expense account over time. When you use the straight-line depreciation formula, the expense journal entry will be the same each year.

Under most systems, a business or income-producing activity may be conducted by individuals or companies. Review the following example of the yearly averaging option using the same 2,000 USD adjustment in Period 3. An entity is entitled to depreciate at a higher rate, but not lower. The SumUp Card Reader enables businesses to take credit, debit and contactless payments. for freelancers and SMEs in the UK & Ireland, Debitoor adheres to all UK & Irish invoicing and accounting requirements and is approved by UK & Irish accountants. Designed for freelancers and small business owners, Debitoor invoicing software makes it quick and easy to issue professional invoices and manage your business finances.

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straight line depreciation formula

Due to its simplicity, the straight-line method is the most common depreciation method. Where an asset’s productivity declines over time, it might be more appropriate to use any accelerated depreciation methods. 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. Unlike more complex methodologies, such asdouble declining balance, straight line is simple and uses just three different variables to calculate the amount of depreciation each accounting period. So if depreciation is the loss of value of an asset, straight-line depreciation is a formula that allows you to calculate both the rate of that loss and the value of your assets at any specific point in time. The method is called “straight line” because the formula, when laid out on a graph, creates a straight, downward trend, with the same rate of loss per year.

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If you mark the expense as an asset, you will then be prompted to enter an estimated useful live and residual value. This Annual depreciation amount is then divided by the number of periods available for that year to be depreciated. It is very useful for assets that have a pattern of economic benefits that can’t be precisely determined in advance. Let’s consider Example 1 and assume that at the end of Year 2 the accountant revised the useful life of the truck to 4 years and reduced its salvage value to $40,000. Please note that at the end of Year 2 the net book value equals $0, and accumulated depreciation equals the laptop cost of $4,000. Costs to bringing the asset to the location and condition and these costs should also be capitalized.

straight line depreciation formula

Editorial content from The Blueprint is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. Sage 50cloud is a feature-rich accounting platform with tools for sales tracking, reporting, invoicing and payment processing and vendor, customer and employee management. Easily save this report to your computer or print it at any time. This means Sara will depreciate her copier at a rate of 20% per year. Looking for the best tips, tricks, and guides to help you accelerate your business?

There are several standard methods of computing depreciation expense, including fixed percentage, straight line, and declining balance methods. Depreciation expense generally begins when the asset is placed in service. For example, a depreciation expense of 100 per year for five years may be recognized for an asset costing 500. Depreciation has been defined as the diminution in the utility or value of an asset and is a non-cash expense. It does not result in any cash outflow; it just means that the asset is not worth as much as it used to be. Most income tax systems allow a tax deduction for recovery of the cost of assets used in a business or for the production of income.

Subtract the estimated salvage value of the asset from the amount at which it is recorded on the books. There are generally accepted depreciation estimates for most major asset types that provide some constraint. GAAP is a collection of accounting standards that set rules for how financial statements are prepared. It’s based on long-standing conventions, objectives and concepts addressing recognition, presentation, disclosure, and measurement of information. The calculation is straightforward and it does the job for a majority of businesses that don’t need one of the more complex methodologies. Salvage value is the estimated book value of an asset after depreciation. It is an important component in the calculation of a depreciation schedule.

Where the assets are consumed currently, the cost may be deducted currently as an expense or treated as part of cost of goods sold. The cost of assets not currently consumed generally must be deferred and recovered over time, such as through depreciation.

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