Disposal of Operating Assets

True Tamplin

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®
Updated on August 27, 2021


When accounting for the disposal of operating assets, the firm should record a gain or loss for the difference between the net salvage proceeds and the asset’s book value as of the disposal date. It should be noted that any gain or loss from disposing of an asset is only an adjustment to income caused by inaccurate estimates of salvage value or service life. In order to measure the gain or loss and operating income, book value should be adjusted by the partial year’s depreciation expense prior to recording the disposal.


For example, consider this asset:
disposal of operating assets
The book value as of December 31, 20×3, is computed under the half-year convention for partial year’s depreciation as follows:
disposal of operating assets example
This journal entry would be made to record the a for the first half of 20×4 (one-half year’s):
disposal of operating assets journal entry
This journal entry would be made to record the disposal (note that the amount of accumulated depreciation is the sum of $52,500 and $10,500):
disposal of operating assets journal entries
In practice, these two journal entries might be combined.
The net gain or loss on all disposals should appear separately in the income statement only if the amount is material. If the disposal removes a significant segment of operating capacity, it should be reported as a discontinued operation. The SCFP should identify the amount of working capital provided by disposals ($35,000 for the example above) and should adjust the income figure for any gains or losses in order to present the amount of working lcapital provided by operating activities alone.
If the seller accepts a note receivable from the buyer, the realistic interest rate should be used to determine the selling price of the asset. If the seller accepts another asset in exchange, there may or may not be a gain or loss on the exchange. If the disposal occurs as a result of a casualty, such as theft, fire, or storm damage, the cash settlement received from insurance is added to the proceeds.

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True contributes to his own finance dictionary, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, his interview on CBS, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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