One of the central aspects of straight-line depreciation is the concept of “useful life.” To depreciate your assets with this method, you need a good estimate of the useful life of the asset. While it’s possible to use different methods of depreciation for different assets, you must apply the same method for the life of an asset. In straight-line depreciation, the assets are depreciated at an equal value every year of their expected life. For example, if a computer is expected to last 5 years, it will be depreciated by one fifth of its value each year.

## Create a Free Account and Ask Any Financial Question

The salvage value is the estimated amount the asset can be sold for at the end of its useful life, and the useful life represents the number of years that the asset is expected to be productive. It prevents bias in situations when the pattern of economic benefits from an asset is hard to estimate. As $500 calculated above represents the depreciation cost for 12 months, it has been reduced to 6 months equivalent to reflect the number of months the asset was actually available for use. One of the most obvious pitfalls of using this method is that the useful life calculation is often based on guesswork.

If production declines, this method lowers the depreciation expenses from one year to the next. This means taking the asset’s worth (the salvage value subtracted from the purchase price) and dividing it by its useful life. Once you understand the asset’s worth, it’s time to calculate depreciation expense using the straight-line depreciation equation.

The initial cost of the fence was $25,000, and you think you can scrap the wood for $3,000 at the end of its useful life. According to the straight-line method of depreciation, your wood chipper will depreciate $2,400 every year. Now that you know the difference between the depreciation models, let’s see the straight-line depreciation method being used in real-world situations. With these numbers on hand, you’ll be able to use the straight-line depreciation formula to determine the amount of depreciation for an asset on an annual or monthly basis. You can calculate the asset’s life span by determining the number of years it will remain useful.

Examples of intangible assets include patents and other intellectual property. While intangible assets do not have a physical form, they may have a known useful life or legal expiration date. This makes them suitable for straight line depreciation by allocating the initial cost evenly over their estimated useful life. The units of production method calculates depreciation expense based on the actual usage or production output of an asset.

This will provide you with a straight line depreciation schedule that shows the asset’s decreasing value over time. This calculation results in a uniform depreciation amount that is expensed each period during the asset’s useful life. Using the example above, if the machinery has a salvage value of $10,000, the depreciable cost would be $40,000 ($50,000 – $10,000), resulting in an what is the definition of the direct cost of sales annual depreciation of $4,000 ($40,000 ÷ 10).

Straight-line depreciation is popular with some accountants, but unpopular with others and with some businesses because extra calculations may be required for some industries. Compared to the other three methods, straight line depreciation is by far the simplest. These alternative methods may better match the consumption of the asset or take into account the asset’s higher usage during its early years. Once straight line depreciation charge is determined, it is not revised subsequently. If the results of calculating the basis were graphed, it would appear as a straight line, hence the name.

## Table of Contents

It is considered more accurate in reflecting an asset’s wear and tear than the straight-line approach, especially for assets whose usage significantly fluctuates. There are a lot of reasons businesses choose to use the straight line depreciation method. Business owners use straight line depreciation to write off the expense of a fixed asset.

## Why Would You Choose This Method?

These assets typically have a predetermined useful life, which makes them suitable for the straight line depreciation method. For instance, a machine may have a useful life of 10 years, allowing the company to allocate its cost uniformly over the expected life. In contrast, the straight-line method allocates a uniform amount of depreciation for each indoor tanning year of an asset’s useful life.

Depreciation means reducing the value of an asset for business and tax purposes. Most businesses have assets they need to depreciateStraight-line depreciation is a common method. The straight-line method of depreciation assumes a constant rate of depreciation. It calculates how much a specific asset depreciates in one year, and then depreciates the asset by that amount every year after that.

This makes it simpler to apply and understand but may not reflect the actual consumption of economic benefits. Straight line depreciation method charges cost evenly throughout the useful life of a fixed asset. Straight-line depreciation is the easiest method for calculating depreciation. It is most useful when an asset’s value decreases steadily over time at around the same rate. The straight-line basis is also an acceptable calculation method because it renders fewer errors over the life of the asset.

## How to calculate straight line depreciation

- In this section, we will compare the straight-line depreciation method with other common methods such as accelerated depreciation and the units of production method.
- Check out our guide to Form 4562 for more information on calculating depreciation and amortization for tax purposes.
- It’s a good idea to hire a certified public accountant (CPA) or use accounting software like Xero to make the calculations easier.
- The straight-line depreciation method is important because you can use the formula to determine how much value an asset loses over time.
- It means that the asset will be depreciated faster than with the straight line method.

When compared to accelerated depreciation, the straight-line approach results in lower depreciation expenses and higher taxable income during the initial years of the asset’s life. With the double-declining balance method, higher depreciation is posted at the beginning of the useful life of the asset, with lower depreciation expenses coming later. This method is an accelerated depreciation method because more expenses are posted in an asset’s early years, with fewer expenses being posted in later years. The straight-line depreciation method is a common way to measure the depreciation of a fixed asset over time.

After building your fence, you can expect it to depreciate by $1,467 each year. Additionally, you can calculate the depreciation rate by dividing the depreciation amount by the total depreciable cost (purchase price − estimated salvage value). Accountants use the straight line depreciation method because it is the easiest to compute and can be applied to all long-term assets. However, the straight line method does not accurately reflect the difference in usage of an asset and may not be the most appropriate value calculation method for some depreciable assets. The double declining balance method calculates the annual depreciation rate by doubling the straight-line rate. For example, for an asset with a 10-year life, the straight-line rate would be 10% (100% / 10 years).