Difference Between Depreciation And Amortization With Comparison Chart

difference between amortization and depreciation

Amortization is similar to the straight line method of depreciation in that an annual deduction is allowed to recover certain costs over a fixed time period. You amortize such items as the costs of starting a business, goodwill, and certain other intangibles. Intangible assets lack physical substance and are commonly referred to as « Intellectual Property. » Examples include patents, trademarks, research, and copyrights. When depreciation expenses appear on an income statement, rather than reducing cash on the balance sheet, they are added to the accumulated depreciation account. Doing so lowers the carrying value of the relevant fixed assets. A technique used to determine the loss in the value of the long-term fixed tangible asset due to usage, wear and tear, age or change in market conditions is known as depreciation. Long term fixed tangible assets mean the assets which are owned by the company for more than three years, and they can be seen & touched.

In the case of a mortgage, an amortization schedule is often used to calculate a series of loan payments consisting of both principal and interest in each payment. For the establishment, the depreciated amount expensed each year is a tax deduction until the useful life of the asset has expired. Depreciation is calculated by subtracting the asset’s resale value from its original cost because tangible assets might have some value at the end of their life. For more on how to create financial statements and projections see my course, Accounting & Financial Statements.

Depreciation recognizes that assets have a useful life and wear out over time. When a large piece of equipment is purchased, its cost is evenly divided by the number of years in its useful life. The smaller yearly cost is then subtracted from profits over the useful life, evening out profit and loss statements. At first folded into accounting practices, depreciation was incorporated into tax law in 1913. Fixed assets refers to the assets, whose benefit is enjoyed for more than one accounting period. Fixed assets can be tangible fixed assets or intangible fixed assets. As per matching concept, the portion of asset employed for creating revenue, needs to be recovered during the financial year, so as to match the expenses for the period.

Amortization is majorly connected with the debt that the company has. The greater percentage of amortization goes towards the principal amount in the loan, the rest is the interest being paid. It represents the amount of assets’ value has been used every year.

difference between amortization and depreciation

The main difference between depreciation and amortization is that while depreciation is used in charging off the cost of a tangible asset, amortization normally charges off cost of an intangible asset. Examples of tangible assets are furniture, motor vehicle and office equipment. An intangible asset is an asset which is not physical and has a useful life that exceeds one year. Examples of intangible assets are goodwill, trademarks, customer lists, motion pictures, franchise agreements, and computer software. When considering amortization vs. depreciation the key similarities are that both spread out the cost of the asset over its useful life and aim to match up the expense of the asset with the income it helps earn.


It ensures that the recipient does not become weighed down with debt and the lender is paid back in a timely way. Understanding depreciation and amortization is not easy and is most often best left to the professionals. IRS Publication 946 outlining all the details is hundreds of pages long—not exactly something we would expect you to retained earnings read. To add more variables to the mix, the IRS allows you to depreciate 100% of the cost of an asset through bonus depreciation in the first year on qualifying new assets. While the formula is simple, actually calculating MACRS is difficult because the depreciation rate used varies depending on the type of asset you are depreciating.

This allows you to spread out the tax benefits instead of taking them all up front. The goal of amortization is to closer align the expense with the income the asset will produce over time. Depreciation can be used as a straight-line method or accelerated depreciation method. Accelerated depreciation is used to show higher expenses in the initial years of the erection of a machine or a building or a piece of equipment. Depreciation refers to the expenses of an asset which are fixed and are tangible. The assets are physical assets that are reduced each year due to the wear and tear in them. When a business spends money to acquire an asset, this asset could have a useful life beyond the tax year.

However, at some point the scale tips, and a larger portion of the payment is applied to the balance of the loan, eventually paying off the debt. This is something that isn’t always broken down well in statements from your bank, however, an amortization table can break out principal versus interest. If you have ever obtained a mortgage or auto loan, then you are probably familiar with amortization.

  • One important observation is, as described in the section above, that at the beginning of the loan, a large amount of the payment goes toward interest payments.
  • The terms amortization and depreciation are often used conversely to refer to both tangible and intangible assets in countries, like Canada.
  • The need to learn accounting terms like amortization and depreciation probably didn’t cross your mind.
  • Measuring the loss in value over time of a fixed asset, such as a building or a piece of equipment or a motor vehicle, is known as depreciation.
  • Since you can claim the same amount over the useful life of the asset, its easier to simply have the calculation done so that you can expense it with confidence.

The other aspect differentiating the two concepts is that amortization is usually carried out on a straight line basis so that the amortization amount is shown as an expense in each period of reporting. On the other hand, depreciation is commonly shown on the basis of acceleration such that a significant depreciation amount is recognized at earlier periods of reporting compared to later periods of reporting. The cost of the building is spread out over the predicted life of the building. But even if you have an accountant, or someone who prepares you taxes, you should know what these terms mean. That way, you understand what the money professionals are talking about, you can alert them to things that might reduce your taxes. And if you’re creating your own business plans and revenue statements, you obviously need to know some accounting terminology.

The sum of all depreciation occurred in the asset’s life span is called accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is the reduction of cost of the tangible assets available in the company over its lifespan which is proportionate to the usage of the same asset in a specific year. Depreciation applies to assets like building, machines, equipment, furniture.

To amortize is to write off costs or to pay debts off while to depreciate is to lose value over a certain time period. Both are used in reflecting the expiration, consumption, obsolescence or any other decline in an asset’s value as a result of time passage. This commonly applies to tangible assets which are prone to wear and tear. Therefore, intangible assets require a corresponding technique for spreading out the cost over a certain time period. Intangible property that is subject to amortization in the U.S has to be described in U.S.C 26. Under § 197, this has to be property held for use in business, trade or for income production. Most intangible assets that are acquired are usually ratably amortized over a period of 15 years.

Instead, management is responsible for valuing goodwill every year and to determine if an impairment is required. BusinessTown has courses that cover all these topics and hundreds more. This course will show you exactly how to create an excellent business plan. This course walks you through every step and includes a fill-in-the-blanks template and a complete sample plan.

How Amortization Applies To Your Accounting

They both have to be incurred for the successful running of a business cycle. The role played by both in the industry requires knowledgeable auditors and account personnel to work on the numbers. After all, taxation is connected to the government, and producing the right papers for the cost incurred must be legitimate. The value of a particular purchase keeps reducing day by day for many reasons. Of course, keeping people in good harmony, money management, productivity increase all comes to one picture. But there is something more than that to be considered for the businesses to run for a very long time. The revenue that is got is also due to the expenditure done on various fronts.

difference between amortization and depreciation

For tangible assets, this is known as depreciation and if it is intangible like in the case of goodwill or patent, this is known as amortization. It is accounted for when companies record the loss in value of their fixed assets through depreciation. Physical assets, such as machines, equipment, or vehicles, degrade over time and reduce in value incrementally. Unlike other expenses, depreciation expenses are listed on income statements as a « non-cash » charge, indicating that no money was transferred when expenses were incurred. There are many different terms and financial concepts incorporated into income statements. Two of these concepts—depreciation and amortization—can be somewhat confusing, but they are essentially used to account for decreasing value of assets over time. Specifically, amortization occurs when the depreciation of an intangible asset is split up over time, and depreciation occurs when a fixed asset loses value over time.

Depreciation Vs Amortization Comparison Table

However the difference is that amortization applies to intangible assets, while depreciation applies to tangible assets, because of this, different methods of calculation can be used. Amortization almost always utilizes the straight line accounting method, while depreciation may use either the straight line or accelerated method. It is also important to note that with amortization, there is no salvage value like there is with depreciation. The key difference between amortization and depreciation is that amortization is used for intangible assets, while depreciation is used for tangible assets.

Often, accountants will look at how large or frequent intangible transactions are in order to gauge materiality. Any discussions about specific transactions should be discussed with your advisory team. Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property. A few years ago we as a company normal balance were searching for various terms and wanted to know the differences between them. Ever since then, we’ve been tearing up the trails and immersing ourselves in this wonderful hobby of writing about the differences and comparisons. We’ve learned from on-the-ground experience about these terms specially the product comparisons.

difference between amortization and depreciation

The cost of the asset is reduced by the residual value, then it is divided by the number of its expected life, the amount obtained will be the amount of amortization, this is a Straight line method. So, take a read of the article given below, which describes the difference between depreciation and amortization in detail. So, amortization is in reference to paying off debt with a certain fixed payment plan.

Any surplus or deficit arising on account of such change in the method of depreciation shall be debited or credited to the profit & loss account as the case may be. The schedule below shows monthly payments – how much of each payment is principal vs. interest, as well as how those amounts are accumulated over time for a $220,000 ten-year loan at a 7.0% interest rate.


However, amortization is applicable to intangible assets such as copyrights, patent, collection rights, brand value etc. Conversely, a tangible asset may have some salvage value, so this amount is more likely to be included in a depreciation calculation.

How To Calculate Depreciation Deductions

An investor who ignores the economic reality of depreciation expenses may easily overvalue a business, and his investment may suffer as a result. If you want to invest in a publicly-traded company, performing a robust analysis of its income statement can help you determine the company’s financial performance. We’d strongly advise you to let a financial professional calculate amortization expenses. Since you can claim the same amount difference between amortization and depreciation over the useful life of the asset, its easier to simply have the calculation done so that you can expense it with confidence. The primary objective of depreciation is to allocate the cost of assets over its expected useful life. Unlike amortization, which focuses on capitalizing the amount of the cost of an asset over its useful life. Various methods of amortization are given like Straight Line, Reducing Balance, Bullet, etc.

In this instance, your annual deduction comes out to $5,000 per year when you divide the total purchase price by the number of years outstanding. You would also need to adjust for the purchase data in the first year (so if it was purchased in June, you would get approximately half of the first-year deduction).

Definition Of Depreciation

Contrariwise, a tangible asset may have salvage value; an amount which in most cases will be included in the calculation of depreciation. Corporate accountants use a variety of techniques to save companies money, including depreciation and amortization. Both depletion and amortization constitute methods of accumulating tax write-offs for items that a company owns for the duration of their useful life span. At first glance, these terms may even appear to mean the same thing, though one key aspect differentiates depletion from amortization. Amortization and depreciation are two methods of calculating value for business assets and enable you to reduce the tax liability for your business. The difference between amortization and depreciation is that they apply to different types of assets. Depreciation applies to tangible assets i.e. the assets which exist in physical form like plant and machinery, vehicle, computer, furniture, etc.

Customer relationships, contracts, franchises, patents, and licenses are all examples of intangible assets—they’re business assets that have no material substance but that add value to your business. Charge of depreciation is calculated after considering estimated residual value or salvage value of the tangible assets. Amortization is charged as intangible assets generally have a specific legal term across which economic benefits can be generated. Depreciation is the depletion in value of a tangible asset which occurs due to routine wear and tear during use.

Mandatory Depreciation With Rental Income

Let’s say a company purchases a new piece of equipment with an estimated useful life of 10 years for the price of $100,000. Using the straight-line method, the company’s annual depreciation expense for the equipment will be $10,000 ($100,000/10 years). This is important because depreciation expenses are recognized as deductions for tax purposes. It is also possible for a company to use an accelerated depreciation method, where the amount of depreciation it takes each year is higher during the earlier years of an asset’s life.

This method of writing off lost cost applies to all intangible assets owned by a company. Intangible assets constitute anything of value with no physical form, including copyrights, patents, trademarks, brands, franchises and goodwill. All of these intangible assets lose value over retained earnings time — companies write this lost value off through amortization. Some intangible assets, such as Internet domain names, possess indefinite life spans. Under units of production method, the annual depreciation charge is computed based on how many units the fixed asset can produce.