# Understanding Straight Line Depreciation Formula

The table also incorporates specified lives for certain commonly used assets (e.g., office furniture, computers, automobiles) which override the business use lives. 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. Depreciation accounts for decreases in the value of a company’s assets over time. In the United States, accountants must adhere to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in calculating and reporting depreciation on financial statements.

Straight-line depreciation is a simple method for calculating how much a particular fixed asset depreciates (loses value) over time. You can use this method to anticipate the cost and value of assets like land, vehicles and machinery. While the upfront cost of these items can be shocking, calculating depreciation can actually save you money, thanks to IRS tax guidelines.

Straight-line depreciation is most commonly used by businesses and corporations that wish to determine the value of an asset over an extended period of time. It’s also used when calculating the expense of an asset on an income statement for accounting purposes. Calculating depreciation is an essential part of business accounting and staying on top of taxes. For business purposes, depreciation is just an expense, which is why you want to ensure it’s calculated correctly. After all, the purchase price or initial cost of the asset will determine how much is depreciated each year. The Excel equivalent function for Straight-Line Method is SLN will calculate the depreciation expense for any period.

This method spreads out the depreciation equally over each accounting period. To calculate using this method, first subtract the salvage value from the original purchase price. The straight line depreciation formula will give you the same tax deduction for an asset, year after year.

Depletion and amortization are similar concepts for natural resources and intangible assets, respectively. As you can see, this formula is fairly simple to perform and offers a straightforward estimate as to the depreciation value of an asset. Divide this number by the total number of years you expect the product to benefit your organization (the asset’s useful life). Let’s say you own a small business and you decide you want to buy a new computer server at a cost of \$5,000.

## Methods of Depreciation

The straight-line depreciation method is a simple and reliable way small business owners can calculate depreciation. Every business needs assets to generate revenue, and most assets require business owners to post depreciation. Use this discussion to understand how to calculate depreciation and the impact it has on your financial statements. The total dollar amount of the expense is the same, regardless of the method you choose. An asset’s initial cost and useful life are also the same using any method. Calculates the annual depreciation rate by dividing
the life (in years) into one.

• In our explanation of how to calculate straight-line depreciation expense above, we said the calculation was (cost – salvage value) / useful life.
• The company counts on 90% of the asset’s value falling in the first four years.
• Canada Revenue Agency specifies numerous classes based on the type of property and how it is used.
• The entire value of the asset (\$40,000 depreciable base) will be reclassified into the expense account over time.

Note how the book value of the machine at the end of year 5 is the same as the salvage value. Over the useful life of an asset, the value of an asset should depreciate to its salvage value. Company A purchases a machine for \$100,000 with an estimated salvage value of \$20,000 and a useful life of 5 years.

Once straight line depreciation charge is determined, it is not revised subsequently. Calculate depreciation expense for the years ending 30 June 2013 and 30 June 2014. The number of labels printed by a label printing machine, miles driven by a vehicle, or kilowatt hours produced by a power plant is examples of production units. The unit-of-production method is similar to straight-line depreciation, except that it measures depreciation in production units rather than dollars.

## How is straight-line depreciation different from other methods?

These may be specified by law or accounting standards, which may vary by country. There are several standard methods of computing depreciation expense, including fixed percentage, straight line, and declining balance methods. acg 2021 financial accounting final exam For example, a depreciation expense of 100 per year for five years may be recognized for an asset costing 500. Accumulated depreciation is eliminated from the accounting records when a fixed asset is disposed of.

The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters. Mary Girsch-Bock is the expert on accounting software and payroll software for The Ascent. The easiest way to determine the useful life of an asset is to refer to the IRS tables, which are found in Publication 946, referenced above. You could assign the accounting calculations to a proverbial ham sandwich and expect a correct and useful result. That’s cash that can be put to work for future growth or bigger dividends to owners. The time value of money is that, in most cases, a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future.

## Sample Full Depreciation Schedule

We call the running total of depreciation expense “accumulated depreciation” and it will be equal to the historical cost less the estimated salvage value. Straight-line depreciation posts the same amount of expenses each accounting period (month or year). But depreciation using DDB and the units-of-production method may change each year. 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.

## Example of Straight Line Depreciation

Small businesses looking for the easiest approach might choose straight-line depreciation, which simply calculates the projected average yearly depreciation of an asset over its lifespan. Since different assets depreciate in different ways, there are other ways to calculate it. Declining balance depreciation allows companies to take larger deductions during the earlier years of an assets lifespan. Sum-of-the-years’ digits depreciation does the same thing but less aggressively. Finally, units of production depreciation takes an entirely different approach by using units produced by an asset to determine the asset’s value. Calculate the depreciation expenses by using the straight-line method is really, really simple and quite straight forwards.

At any point in an asset’s useful life, its projected depreciation can give you hints on whether it is more financially beneficial to repair the asset or to replace it altogether. 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. Like most businesses, Netflix applies a straight line depreciation schedule to its physical plant, property, and equipment assets.

It represents the depreciation expense evenly over the estimated full life of a fixed asset. You can use a basic straight-line depreciation formula to calculate this, too. In our explanation of how to calculate straight-line depreciation expense above, we said the calculation was (cost – salvage value) / useful life. 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. It means that the asset will be depreciated faster than with the straight line method.