Bookkeeping

# The Double Declining Depreciation Method: A Beginner’s Guide

Double-declining depreciation charges lesser depreciation in the later years of an asset’s life. Assume that you’ve purchased a \$100,000 asset that will be worth \$10,000 at the end of its useful life. Even though year five’s total depreciation should have been \$5,184, only \$4,960 could be depreciated before reaching the salvage value of the asset, which is \$8,000. Remember, in straight line depreciation, salvage value is subtracted from the original cost.

Employing the accelerated depreciation technique means there will be smaller taxable income in the earlier years of an asset’s life. To get a better grasp of double declining balance, spend a little time experimenting with this double declining balance calculator. It’s a good way to see the formula in action—and understand what kind of impact double declining depreciation might have on your finances. On the other hand, double declining balance decreases over time because you calculate it off the beginning book value each period. It does not take salvage value into consideration until you reach the final depreciation period.

• As you can see, the depreciation rate is multiplied by the asset book value every year to compute the deprecation expense.
• A vehicle is a perfect example of an asset that loses value quickly in the first years of ownership.
• If this asset is still valuable, its sale could portray a misleading picture of the company’s underlying health.
• For example, assume your business purchases a delivery vehicle for \$25,000.
• Doing some market research, you find you can sell your five year old ice cream truck for about \$12,000—that’s the salvage value.

Some companies use accelerated depreciation methods to defer their tax obligations into future years. It was first enacted and authorized under the Internal Revenue Code in 1954, and it was a major change from existing policy. The declining balance method is one of the two accelerated depreciation methods and it uses a depreciation rate that is some multiple calculate markup of the straight-line method rate. The double-declining balance (DDB) method is a type of declining balance method that instead uses double the normal depreciation rate. The “double” means 200% of the straight line rate of depreciation, while the “declining balance” refers to the asset’s book value or carrying value at the beginning of the accounting period.

## What Is the Double Declining Balance Depreciation Method?

This is to ensure that we do not depreciate an asset below the amount we can recover by selling it. Depreciation in the year of disposal if the asset is sold before its final year of useful life is therefore equal to Carrying Value × Depreciation% × Time Factor. No depreciation is charged following the year in which the asset is sold. If, for example, an asset is purchased on 1 December and the financial statements are prepared on 31 December, the depreciation expense should only be charged for one month.

Generally, the cost is allocated as depreciation expense among the periods in which the asset is expected to be used. Current book value is the asset’s net value at the start of an accounting period, calculated by deducting the accumulated depreciation from the cost of the fixed asset. Residual value is the estimated salvage value at the end of the useful life of the asset. And the rate of depreciation is defined according to the estimated pattern of an asset’s use over its useful life. Let’s assume that a retailer purchases fixtures on January 1 at a cost of \$100,000. It is expected that the fixtures will have no salvage value at the end of their useful life of 10 years.

• This is often referred to as a capital allowance, as it is called in the United Kingdom.
• However, in most countries the life is based on business experience, and the method may be chosen from one of several acceptable methods.
• The double-declining-balance method is also a better representation of how vehicles depreciate and can more accurately match cost with benefit from asset use.

Below, we will calculate the decline of this equipment’s worth in the second year using double declining balance depreciation. The formula for calculating DDB begins with a calculation of the basic depreciation rate, or the rate at which a holding depreciates using the straight line technique. When an asset is sold, debit cash for the amount received and credit the asset account for its original cost.

## Using the 200% Double Declining Balance Depreciation Method

For instance, in the fourth year of our example, you’d depreciate \$2,592 using the double declining method, or \$3,240 using straight line. In the first year of service, you’ll write \$12,000 off the value of your ice cream truck. It will appear as a depreciation expense on your yearly income statement.

In other words, it records how the value of an asset declines over time. Firms depreciate assets on their financial statements and for tax purposes in order to better match an asset’s productivity in use to its costs of operation over time. If the resource was deployed in the middle of the year, we would need to adjust the recorded depreciation for the first year accordingly.

## Declining Depreciation vs. the Double-Declining Method

If a company often recognizes large gains on sales of its assets, this may signal that it’s using accelerated depreciation methods, such as the double-declining balance depreciation method. Net income will be lower for many years, but because book value ends up being lower than market value, this ultimately leads to a bigger gain when the asset is sold. If this asset is still valuable, its sale could portray a misleading picture of the company’s underlying health. The double-declining balance depreciation (DDB) method, also known as the reducing balance method, is one of two common methods a business uses to account for the expense of a long-lived asset. Similarly, compared to the standard declining balance method, the double-declining method depreciates assets twice as quickly.

## Accumulated depreciation

In the accounting period in which an asset is acquired, the depreciation expense calculation needs to account for the fact that the asset has been available only for a part of the period (partial year). This is because, unlike the straight-line method, the depreciation expense under the double-declining method is not charged evenly over the asset’s useful life. Once the asset is valued on the company’s books at its salvage value, it is considered fully depreciated and cannot be depreciated any further. However, if the company later goes on to sell that asset for more than its value on the company’s books, it must pay taxes on the difference as a capital gain.

The salvage value is what you expect to receive when you dispose of the asset at the end of its useful life. The double-declining balance method accelerates the depreciation taken at the beginning of an asset’s useful life. Because of this, it more accurately reflects the true value of an asset that loses value quickly. When you drive a brand new vehicle off the lot at the dealership, its value decreases considerably in the first few years. Toward the end of its useful life, the vehicle loses a smaller percentage of its value every year.

Double declining balance depreciation assumes that holdings depreciate twice as quickly as in the straight-line method, in which they devalue at an even rate. Accountants apply double declining balance depreciation to long-lived holdings that depreciate more rapidly than others. This technique is the most popular among the accelerated depreciation methods, in which assets devalue more rapidly in the beginning of their useful life.

## Double Declining Balance Method Formula (DDB)

Canada Revenue Agency specifies numerous classes based on the type of property and how it is used. Under the United States depreciation system, the Internal Revenue Service publishes a detailed guide which includes a table of asset lives and the applicable conventions. The table also incorporates specified lives for certain commonly used assets (e.g., office furniture, computers, automobiles) which override the business use lives. Depreciation first becomes deductible when an asset is placed in service. (You can multiply it by 100 to see it as a percentage.) This is also called the straight line depreciation rate—the percentage of an asset you depreciate each year if you use the straight line method.

We now have the necessary inputs to build our accelerated depreciation schedule. By dividing the \$4 million depreciation expense by the purchase cost, the implied depreciation rate is 18.0% per year. But before we delve further into the concept of accelerated depreciation, we’ll review some basic accounting terminology. Using the steps outlined above, let’s walk through an example of how to build a table that calculates the full depreciation schedule over the life of the asset. Let’s examine the steps that need to be taken to calculate this form of accelerated depreciation.

## Annuity depreciation

Double declining balance (DDB) depreciation is an accelerated depreciation method. DDB depreciates the asset value at twice the rate of straight line depreciation. Depreciation is an accounting process by which a company allocates an asset’s cost throughout its useful life.

The depreciation expense is then recorded in the accumulated depreciation account, which reduces the asset book value. The double declining balance depreciation method is a form of accelerated depreciation that doubles the regular depreciation approach. It is frequently used to depreciate fixed assets more heavily in the early years, which allows the company to defer income taxes to later years. Depreciation is the act of writing off an asset’s value over its expected useful life, and reporting it on IRS Form 4562. The double declining balance method of depreciation is just one way of doing that.

This formula works for each year you are depreciating an asset, except for the last year of an asset’s useful life. In that year, the amount to be depreciated will be the difference between the book value of the asset at the beginning of the year and its final salvage value (this is usually just a small remainder). Given the nature of the DDB depreciation method, it is best reserved for assets that depreciate rapidly in the first several years of ownership, such as cars and heavy equipment. By applying the DDB depreciation method, you can depreciate these assets faster, capturing tax benefits more quickly and reducing your tax liability in the first few years after purchasing them. However, using the double declining depreciation method, your depreciation would be double that of straight line depreciation. The next step is to calculate the straight-line depreciation expense, which is equal to the difference between the PP&E purchase price and salvage value (i.e. the depreciable base) divided by the useful life assumption.