Depreciation: Summary of Main Methods

Brian Krogol
Was this helpful?
Alright. So we've discussed the three most important depreciation methods, we've talked about straight line method, the double declining balance method and the units of production method. Alright, So now what we're gonna do is just summarize all of that on one page. So you have it easily accessible when you're studying. Let's check it out. So depreciation. Remember this is when we buy a fixed asset that we're gonna use for a number of years and we're splitting up that cost over its useful life. All right. And when we calculate depreciation, there were three things that three variables that were very important when we were calculating the depreciation, Do you remember what they were? We had cost, we had useful life and we had residual value. Right? And remember that these 22 and three useful life and residual value, they are estimated. Okay, those are estimated by the company. Alright, so another note about depreciation is that depreciation is a non cash expense? Okay? Even if it doesn't make total sense to you, now drill it in your brain that it's a non cash expense, right? Because when we take depreciation, we're not paying cash for that depreciation. No, that's just wear and tear on our machine. There's no more cash outflow. We already made the cash outflow when we bought the machine itself. Okay. And remember that when we talk about depreciation we're talking about a netbook value. We calculate a netbook value, but this netbook value does not relate to the market value to the market value of the asset. Okay. They're not necessarily going to coincide what you can sell it for. Might not be what the netbook value is at that time, because we can use different depreciation methods and end up with different net book values at any given point in time. Okay, So it's just trying to best match how we're using the machine and match those expenses to our revenues. Okay, so this this is a summary of the formulas we used when we were doing different depreciation methods, the straight line method we've got in the top and then in the second one we've got the rate. Remember this is the depreciation rate that we had in the double declining balance method. This isn't how we calculate depreciation expense itself. This one was probably the most complicated. And if you're gonna study one a little extra, make sure that you put a little more time in that if your teacher is going to focus on the double declining balance rate, that one is definitely the toughest one to do. Okay. And then on the bottom one, remember this one is depreciation per unit, we get a per unit amount and then find how many units we did in the units of production method. And the difference here is that our our denominator has the units of output in the other methods, we have time periods years, something like that. Where in the units of production method, what we have the units of output. Okay, so remember this is the straight line method here, S L. For straight line, double declining balance and then units method over here. Okay, So when we were studying these, we use the same example three times uh when we studied each of the methods separately. Okay, so we used the Johnson and Johnson and Johnson buying a truck, they spent 42,000 on the truck, it had a 2000 residual value and a five year useful life. Okay, so here, I've summarized all of the answers that we got from all three of those methods. And what you're gonna notice is that the total depreciation over the life of the asset, regardless of the method that we used is gonna be the same. Right? If you add up all of these numbers, the straight line 8005 times, well we get 40,000 in depreciation, right? 40,000 in total depreciation over those five years. If you add up the double declining balance numbers, that's also gonna equal 40,000. And I've got a little star here next to the 3443 cause we rounded that number, that was the plug. Remember that we plug that in to get to our residual value and that's the trick with the double declining balance that last year we plug it in. Okay. And then the units of production method here, I've got two columns, this this left column is the dollar amounts and this is the miles that the truck was driven on the right, right, So on the right, it shows the units of production. So if we add all of those numbers on the left, we'll see that we got 40,000 in total depreciation. So no matter what method we use, we get the full 40,000, the same depreciation base is depreciated over the course of the life, the life of the asset, it's just different. It varies in when we take the depreciation. The straight line is easy because it's smooth and we take the same amount every year. The double declining balance is accelerated and we take more more depreciation in the early years and less in the later years and the units of production. Well this one it just depends on how many miles were driven in each year, right. Or how many units were produced each year. So that one there's not really uh oh it's more in the early years, more in the late years. It really just depends on how you use the asset in the units of production method. But the main takeaway with this table is that over the life of the asset, they all take the same total depreciation. Cool. So one more note about depreciation here is that most companies use the straight line method. Okay, this is kind of just the go to method and everyone just uses it because it's so simple. Um but what I want to say is that for tax purposes the I. R. S. Permits the use of something similar to the double declining balance, it's an accelerated method? The double declining balance is an accelerated method. And the I. R. S. Allows the use of something called the modified accelerated cost recovery system. Very I. R. S. Terms, they're very technical terms. We call it matters for short, but it's another basically accelerated depreciation, very similar to double declining balance. Okay, so why would a company want to use an accelerated depreciation method for its taxes? Well, let's think about what an accelerated depreciation does in the first few years. So what think about it, we just spent a whole ton of money on a fixed asset. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars buying a machine. Well, what's the benefit to us? Well, if we take this accelerated method, then that means our depreciation expense is going to be higher in those early years. Right? Like let me use a different color here, I'll use black. So we're gonna have higher depreciation expense in those early years. And if we have more expenses, what does that do to our income, our net income is going to be smaller. Right? So the amount of money that we pay taxes after expenses, right? We get our revenues minus expenses and then what's left over? We pay taxes on the leftovers. So if we have higher expenses, we have less taxable income. And if we have less taxable income, let me get out of the way here, If there's less taxable income then we pay less taxes. Okay. So why would why would the I. R. S. Want us to do this? Why would the I. R. S. Want us to pay less taxes? Well the I. R. S. Itself probably doesn't want us to pay less taxes. But the idea here is that it helps motivate companies to invest and to grow their companies. So this is kind of from an economic perspective, this is kind of a incentive for companies to invest in machines and fixed assets, things that cost a lot of money, it gives them a little extra incentive to spend that money and get this bit of a tax break soon after they spend the money by giving them a little extra depreciation expense. Cool. And remember since depreciation expense is not a cash expense, you're not paying extra cash for the depreciation expense. Well the company is not paying extra for this tax benefit, so that's why the I. R. S. Allows this modified system, It gives an incentive for investment in in these fixed assets and growth of the economy. Cool. Alright, so this is just a summary of everything we've learned in the past few past few lessons. Let's go ahead and move on to something new