Types of Depreciation Schedules

Most people that are looking for a depreciation schedule are doing so for one of two reasons: (1) They need to keep track of depreciation for IRS purposes or (2) they need to keep track of depreciation for bookkeeping purposes (yes sadly, these two are often different from each other).

If you are looking for depreciation schedules for tax reporting purposes you really have two options (read Pub 946 and use spreadsheets or use income tax software). You can head over to the IRS’s website and read Pub 946. Pub 946 contains all the information about how your assets should be depreciated for tax-reporting purposes. If you are already a tax accountant, then you probably already know a large portion of what is included in Pub 946. That being said, it is a good place to go when you have any questions. In my opinion the most useful section is the one that contains the depreciation tables. These tables classify assets into groups and then indicate the useful life of an asset for tax reporting purposes.

With the information from Pub 946 and some spreadsheet skills, you could whip up an excellent depreciation schedule for your business. However, nowadays most corporate income tax software comes ready to handle MACRS and tax depreciation. If the software is good, it will already have the pertinent information from Pub 946 that you need. This method seems a lot easier and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t really have a desire to read everything on the IRS website and then create your own spreadsheet. There are some die-hards out there who may prefer this method.

Another type of depreciation schedule is one that is used for your financial statements. There are a lot of rules on how these numbers have to be similar or different than the tax reported numbers but we will not delve into that discussion here. Just know that sometimes the numbers reported on the financial statements for depreciation are sometimes different than the numbers reported for tax purposes. The reason for this is you have two different governing bodies (the IRS governs tax rules while the FASB governs financial statement rules). This can get quite messy and often companies have two different sets of books (one for financial reporting purposes and one for tax purposes).

You can find preformatted depreciation schedules in Excel. Simply click on file, new, and then search for depreciation schedules. These are not that programming intense and you could probably make one yourself.

Another option is to buy some depreciation software. There are companies out there that specialize in depreciation and using some of their software may not be a bad idea for companies of all sizes. Probably the main reason I would use depreciation software over just a normal spreadsheet is for control purposes. Spreadsheets are known to proliferate quickly and information is often incorrect, duplicated, or outdated. With software, all of your information will be in one location making it easier to protect, update, and control.

Whether you are looking for a tax related schedule or a bookkeeping depreciation schedule I sincerely hope you are closer to your goal than you were previously. Find out more about business accounting.

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