Expense

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Expenditure is an outflow of money, or any form of fortune in general, to another person or group to pay for an item or service, or for a category of costs. For a tenant, rent is an expense. For students or parents, tuition is an expense. Buying food, clothing, furniture or an automobile is often referred to as an expense. An expense is a cost that is "paid" or "remitted", usually in exchange for something of value. Something that seems to cost a great deal is "expensive". Something that seems to cost little is "inexpensive". "Expenses of the table" are expenses of dining, refreshments, a feast, etc.

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In accounting, expense has a very specific meaning. It is an outflow of cash or other valuable assets from a person or company to another person or company. This outflow of cash is generally one side of a trade for products or services that have equal or better current or future value to the buyer than to the seller. Technically, an expense is an event in which an asset is used up or a liability is incurred. In terms of the accounting equation, expenses reduce owners' equity. The International Accounting Standards Board defines expenses as:

...decreases in economic benefits during the accounting period in the form of outflows or depletions of assets or incurrences of liabilities that result in decreases in equity, other than those relating to distributions to equity participants. [1]

Expense is a term also used in sociology, in which a particular fortune or price is sacrificed voluntarily or involuntarily by something or someone to something or somebody else, often in the context that the latter is taking advantage of the former.

Bookkeeping for expenses

In double-entry bookkeeping, expenses are recorded as a debit to an expense account (an income statement account) and a credit to either an asset account or a liability account, which are balance sheet accounts. An expense decreases assets or increases liabilities. Typical business expenses include salaries, utilities, depreciation of capital assets, and interest expense for loans. The purchase of a capital asset such as a building or equipment is not an expense.

Cash flow

In a cash flow statement (flow of funds statement), expenditures are divided into three categories:

Whether a particular expenditure is classified as an expense, which is reported immediately on the business's income statement or whether it is classified as a capital expenditure (or an expenditure subject to depreciation), which is not an expense flow of funds statement. Though, these latter types of expenditures are reported as expenses when they are depreciated by businesses that use accrual-basis accounting- as most large businesses and all C corporations do.

Defining an expense as capital or income using the most common interpretation depends upon its term.

When an expense is seen as a purchase it alleviates this distinction. Soon after the purchase, (that which was expenses holds no value), then it is usually identified as an expense. It will be viewed as capital with life that should be amortized/depreciated and retained on the balance sheet if it retains value soon and long after the purchase.

Deduction of business expenses under the United States tax code

For tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Code permits the deduction of business expenses in the tax payable year in which those expenses are paid or incurred. This is in contrast to capital expenditures [2] that are paid or incurred to acquire an asset. Expenses are costs that do not acquire, improve, or prolong the life of an asset. For example, a person who buys a new truck for a business would be making a capital expenditure because they have acquired a new business-related asset. This cost could not be deducted in the current taxable year. However, the gas the person buys during that year to fuel that truck would be considered a deductible expense. The cost of purchasing gas does not improve or prolong the life of the truck but simply allows the truck to run. [3]

Even if something qualifies as an expense, it is not necessarily deductible. As a general rule, expenses are deductible if they relate to a taxpayer's trade or business activity or if the expense is paid or incurred in the production or collection of income from an activity that does not rise to the level of a trade or business (investment activity).

Section 162(a) of the Internal Revenue Code is the deduction provision for business or trade expenses. [4] In order to be a trade or business expense and qualify for a deduction, it must satisfy 5 elements in addition to qualifying as an expense. It must be (1) ordinary and (2) necessary ( Welch v. Helvering defines this as necessary for the development of the business at least in that they were appropriate and helpful). Expenses paid to preserve one's reputation do not appear to qualify). [5] In addition, it must be (3) paid or incurred during the taxable year. It must be paid (4) in carrying on (meaning not prior to the start of a business or in creating it) (5) a trade or business activity. To qualify as a trade or business activity, it must be continuous and regular, and profit must be the primary motive. An expense can be a loss or profit. But loss or profit need not really be an expense.

Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code is the deduction provision for investment expenses. [6] In addition to being an expense and satisfying elements 1-4 above, expenses are deductible as an investment activity under Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code if they are (1) for the production or collection of income, (2) for the management, conservation, or maintenance of property held for the production of income, or (3) in connection with the determination, collection, or refund of any tax.

In investing, one controversy that mounted throughout 2002 and 2003 was whether companies should report the granting of stock options to employees as an expense on the income statement, or should not report this at all in the income statement, which is what had previously been the norm.

Expense report

An expense report is a form of document that contains all the expenses that an individual has incurred as a result of the business operation. For example, if the owner of a business travels to another location for a meeting, the cost of travel, the meals, and all other expenses that he/she has incurred may be added to the expense report. Consequently, these expenses will be considered business expenses and are tax-deductible.

Many businesses benefit from automated expense reports systems for expense management. Depending on the system chosen, these software solutions can reduce time costs, errors, and fraud.

See also

Related Research Articles

Historical cost

In accounting, an economic item's historical cost is the original nominal monetary value of that item. Historical cost accounting involves reporting assets and liabilities at their historical costs, which are not updated for changes in the items' values. Consequently, the amounts reported for these balance sheet items often differ from their current economic or market values.

Depreciation Decrease in asset values, or the allocation of cost thereof

In accountancy, depreciation refers to two aspects of the same concept: first, the actual decrease of fair value of an asset, such as the decrease in value of factory equipment each year as it is used and wears, and second, the allocation in accounting statements of the original cost of the assets to periods in which the assets are used.

Tax deduction is a reduction of income that is able to be taxed and is commonly a result of expenses, particularly those incurred to produce additional income. Tax deductions are a form of tax incentives, along with exemptions and credits. The difference between deductions, exemptions and credits is that deductions and exemptions both reduce taxable income, while credits reduce tax.

Income statement

An income statement or profit and loss account is one of the financial statements of a company and shows the company's revenues and expenses during a particular period.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization

A company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization is an accounting measure calculated using a company's earnings, before interest expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortization are subtracted, as a proxy for a company's current operating profitability.

Cash flow statement

In financial accounting, a cash flow statement, also known as statement of cash flows, is a financial statement that shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents, and breaks the analysis down to operating, investing, and financing activities. Essentially, the cash flow statement is concerned with the flow of cash in and out of the business. As an analytical tool, the statement of cash flows is useful in determining the short-term viability of a company, particularly its ability to pay bills. International Accounting Standard 7 is the International Accounting Standard that deals with cash flow statements.

Net income Measure of the profitability of a business venture

In business and accounting, net income is an entity's income minus cost of goods sold, expenses, depreciation and amortization, interest, and taxes for an accounting period.

Deferral Term in accounting

A deferral, in accrual accounting, is any account where the income or expense is not recognised until a future date, e.g. annuities, charges, taxes, income, etc. The deferred item may be carried, dependent on type of deferral, as either an asset or liability. See also accrual.

Capital expenditure

Capital expenditure or capital expense is the money an organization or corporate entity spends to buy, maintain, or improve its fixed assets, such as buildings, vehicles, equipment, or land. It is considered a capital expenditure when the asset is newly purchased or when money is used towards extending the useful life of an existing asset, such as repairing the roof.

In financial accounting, operating cash flow (OCF), cash flow provided by operations, cash flow from operating activities (CFO) or free cash flow from operations (FCFO), refers to the amount of cash a company generates from the revenues it brings in, excluding costs associated with long-term investment on capital items or investment in securities. Operating activities include any spending or sources of cash that’s involved in a company’s day-to-day business activities. The International Financial Reporting Standards defines operating cash flow as cash generated from operations, less taxation and interest paid, gives rise to operating cash flows. To calculate cash generated from operations, one must calculate cash generated from customers and cash paid to suppliers. The difference between the two reflects cash generated from operations.

The schedular system of taxation is the system of how the charge to United Kingdom corporation tax is applied. It also applied to United Kingdom income tax before legislation was rewritten by the Tax Law Rewrite Project. Similar systems apply in other jurisdictions that are or were closely related to the United Kingdom, such as Ireland and Jersey.

Faux frais of production

Faux frais of production is a concept used by classical political economists and by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. It refers to "incidental operating expenses" incurred in the productive investment of capital, which do not themselves add new value to output. In Marx's social accounting, the faux frais are a component of constant capital, or alternately are funded by a fraction of the new surplus value.

Matching principle

In accrual accounting, the matching principle instructs that an expense should be reported in the same period in which the corresponding revenue is earned, and is associated with accrual accounting and the revenue recognition principle states that revenues should be recorded during the period in which they are earned, regardless of when the transfer of cash occurs. By recognizing costs in the period they are incurred, a business can see how much money was spent to generate revenue, reducing "noise" from timing mismatch between when costs are incurred and when revenue is realized. Conversely, cash basis accounting calls for the recognition of an expense when the cash is paid, regardless of when the expense was actually incurred.

Accelerated depreciation refers to any one of several methods by which a company, for 'financial accounting' or tax purposes, depreciates a fixed asset in such a way that the amount of depreciation taken each year is higher during the earlier years of an asset's life. For financial accounting purposes, accelerated depreciation is expected to be much more productive during its early years, so that depreciation expense will more accurately represent how much of an asset's usefulness is being used up each year. For tax purposes, accelerated depreciation provides a way of deferring corporate income taxes by reducing taxable income in current years, in exchange for increased taxable income in future years. This is a valuable tax incentive that encourages businesses to purchase new assets.

Under the U.S. tax code, businesses expenditures can be deducted from the total taxable income when filing income taxes if a taxpayer can show the funds were used for business-related activities, not personal or capital expenses. Capital expenditures either create cost basis or add to a preexisting cost basis and cannot be deducted in the year the taxpayer pays or incurs the expenditure.

Generally, expenses related to the carrying-on of a business or trade are deductible from a United States taxpayer's adjusted gross income. For many taxpayers, this means that expenses related to seeking new employment, including some relevant expenses incurred for the taxpayer's education, can be deducted, resulting in a tax break, as long as certain criteria are met.

Commissioner v. Idaho Power Co., 418 U.S. 1 (1974), was a United States Supreme Court case.

In tax law, amortization refers to the cost recovery system for intangible property. Although the theory behind cost recovery deductions of amortization is to deduct from basis in a systematic manner over an asset's estimated useful economic life so as to reflect its consumption, expiration, obsolescence or other decline in value as a result of use or the passage of time, many times a perfect match of income and deductions does not occur for policy reasons.

Section 162(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, is part of United States taxation law. It concerns deductions for business expenses. It is one of the most important provisions in the Code, because it is the most widely used authority for deductions. If an expense is not deductible, then Congress considers the cost to be a consumption expense. Section 162(a) requires six different elements in order to claim a deduction. It must be an

A write-off is a reduction of the recognized value of something. In accounting, this is a recognition of the reduced or zero value of an asset. In income tax statements, this is a reduction of taxable income, as a recognition of certain expenses required to produce the income.

References

  1. IFRS Framework, F.70
  2. Capital expenditures must recovered over a period of years through depreciation and amortization. See also Expenses versus Capital Expenditures.
  3. For more on this subject, see Donaldson, Samuel A., Federal Income Taxation of Individuals: Cases, Problems and Materials 170-73 (2d ed. 2007).
  4. 26 U.S.C.   § 162(a)
  5. Welch v. Helvering , 290 U.S. 111, 113 (1933)
  6. 26 U.S.C.   § 212