What is the tax significance of depreciation?

While calculating taxes, depreciation is the method used to allocate the cost of a tangible or immovable asset over the useful life of an asset. In other words, allocate part of that cost to the times when tangible assets help generate revenue or sales. By recording the depreciation of an asset, depreciation reduces the amount of taxes a company or business pays in tax deductions.

The lower cost of a company reduces the amount of tax-based income, thereby reducing the amount of taxes owed, it decreases inflation costs, tax revenue declines and lowering corporate income tax. Depreciation costs are lower, tax revenues are higher and arrears are higher.

The total depreciation charge is recognized as the accumulated depreciation in the company's balance sheet and deducted from the total amount of fixed assets reported. The accumulated depreciation rate increases over time as the monthly depreciation charge is charged on the company's assets.

When assets are eventually terminated or sold, the accumulated depreciation charge on the company's balance sheet is reversed, and the assets are derecognized from the financial statements.


The economic downturn caused by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has significant implications for the commercial sector. The coalition government has used a particularly proven method, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on businesses, individuals, and families. In addition to mortgage lending programs, the CARES Act contains tax exemptions that may benefit property owners and related real estate businesses. Most real estate-related businesses should be eligible to benefit from one or more of these provisions as these measures do not focus on real estate businesses.


Depreciation is always considered to enable the company to move the cost of depreciating assets from the balance sheet to the income statement. When a company buys an asset, it records what is being done as a deduction to increase the asset account in the balance sheet and the cash deduction credit (or increase payable accounts), also in the balance sheet. There is no record in the journal about the depreciate income statement, in which income and expenditure are reported.

At the end of the calculation period, a decrease in the number of accountant books for all capitalized assets does not decrease positively. The inserted journal contains:

  • deductions from depreciation costs, which flow beyond the depreciation expense statement
  • depreciate credit to accumulated depreciation, which is reported on the depreciable balance sheet
File: Depreciation car
CC BY-SA 3.0 | Image credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org | João Pimentel Ferreira

As noted above, businesses can benefit from a reduction in both tax and accounting purposes. This means that they can take tax deductions on property costs, reducing tax revenue. But the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says that if they reduce the value of assets, companies should spread the cost over time. The IRS also has rules about when companies can withdraw money.

Methods of depreciation

Straight-line depreciation

In order to use a straight-line method, the useful life of an asset (usually for years) and the amount of storage (amount of scrap) at the end of its life should be measured. The savings amount is then deducted from the initial cost. The residual value of depreciation is the amount of depreciation that should be applied at fair value over the useful life of the asset.

Declining balance depreciation

A declining balance method is a form of accelerated depreciation expense that is used to offset the cost of rapid depreciation and to reduce tax exposure. With the declining balance method, fixed assets are depreciated at a faster rate rather than equal over the estimated useful life of the asset.

This method is usually used when an asset is expected to have significant use in its previous years. This approach also helps to create greater profits when the goods are sold. Some companies may also use a double-barred balance system, which is even more aggressive in reducing the cost of initial management.

Sum-of-the-years' digits depreciation

The year-round digit method provides a faster descent rate above the straight-line path but below the downtrend. Annual depreciation is divided by fractions using the number of years of the useful life of a business asset. Such assets may include buildings, equipment, furniture, appliances, vehicles, and electrical appliances.

Sometimes referred to as the year-round digit method, this method is also more suitable than the straight-line depreciation model if the asset declines rapidly or has high productivity during its previous years.

Units of production depreciation

The production units provide the same cost value per unit produced, making them more useful in the production or production lines. The formula involves using the historical cost (the cost of an asset based on its normal or actual cost when acquired by a company) and estimated cost savings. The method then determines the cost of the accounting period multiplied by the number of units produced.

Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)

GAAP is a combination of authorized standards and commonly accepted methods of recording and reporting determinable depreciation expenses information. GAAP aims to improve the consistency, and clarity of depreciation expenses information.

GAAP helps to govern the world of accounting in accordance with common laws and guidelines. It seeks to measure and control the definitions, concepts, and methods used in accounting across all industries.

The main goal of GAAP is to ensure that the company's financial statements are complete, consistent, and comparable. This makes it easier for investors to analyze and extract useful information from a company's financial statements, including trend data over time. It also makes it easier to compare valuation across different companies.

Modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS)

As defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), depreciation is a tax deduction that allows an entity to recoup the cost of a particular property. Withdrawal is an annual share of old age, deterioration, or expiration of property. Many tangible assets are dwindling. Similarly, certain intangible assets, such as patents and copyrights diminish.

A modified accelerated cost recovery system is an effective way to reduce the cost of most assets. MACRS allows for a greater rapid decline over long periods. This is advantageous as rapid acceleration allows individuals and businesses to pull higher prices during the first few years of the asset's life, and a little later.

Depreciation using MACRS can be applied to goods such as computer equipment, office furniture, cars, fencing, farm buildings, racehorses, and so on.

Context and Applications

This topic is important for professional exams in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies and in particular:

  • Bachelors of Technology in Civil Engineering
  • Masters of Technology in Civil Engineering

Practice Problems

1. What is the difference between total investment and residual investment?

  1. Depreciation
  2. Taxable income
  3. Depreciation expense
  4. Depreciate fixed assets

Answer: Option a
Explanation: Depreciation is the difference between total investment and residual investment.

2. Which of the following can offset the effect of inflation on the price competitiveness of a country’s product?

  1. Taxable income
  2. Depreciable instruments
  3. Depreciation of the currency
  4. Depreciation expense of machines

Answer: Option c

Explanation: Depreciation of the currency can offset the effect of inflation on the price competitiveness of a country’s product.

3. Which method of depreciation is appropriate if the cost of repairs and maintenance increases as the machine ages?

  1. Straight-line depreciation method
  2. Declining balance depreciation method
  3. Unit of production depreciation method
  4. Reducing balance method

Answer: Option d

Explanation: Reducing balance method is appropriate if the depreciated cost of repairs and maintenance increases as the machine ages.

4. In which principle does the currency remain stable and the inflation rate is almost zero?

  1. Tangible assets principle
  2. Stable dollar principle
  3. Self-employed depreciate
  4. Long-term depreciation

Answer: Option b

Explanation: In the Stable dollar principle, the currency remains stable and the inflation rate is almost zero. 

5. What is the depreciation of the intangible fixed asset known as-

  1. Depreciation deductions
  2. Tax depreciation
  3. Amortization
  4. Depreciation expense

Answer: Option c

Explanation: Amortization is the depreciation of intangible fixed assets.

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