Many people turn their hobbies into a business operation. Not so much to make a living or make big profits, but more to help offset the costs of the hobby. Whenever you go to one of those community fairs, the vendors at the respective booths are mostly folks selling a product that is direct outcome of their hobby. The bands that play on stage, they make some money, but never enough to offset the cost of instruments, gear and transportation. But they enjoy entertaining folks and they hope someday they’ll get discovered.
Depreciation is Weird Accounting
One of those misunderstood areas of accounting is depreciation. The basic concept is to match the original purchase price of a major asset to its utility throughout its lifetime. There are multitude of different methods incorporated to fulfill this goal.
When it comes to depreciation, no two businesses are alike. Unlike traditional straight line depreciation where the asset value is costed out to depreciation expense in equal increments over a given life expectancy, accelerated depreciation expenses the cost at higher values during the earlier accounting periods and at a lower amount towards the last half of the asset’s life expectancy.
Any tangible item not consumed within one accounting cycle (typically a year) and providing long term utility is referred to as a Fixed Asset. Traditional images include manufacturing equipment, tools, transportation vehicles, buildings and utility related systems (sewage systems, power grids, power plants and dams). In accounting, these assets are recorded to the balance sheet as ‘Fixed Assets’.
The Internal Revenue Service sets the depreciation allowance based on the Code as promulgated by Congress. The most commonly referenced section is 179. This is a form of accelerated depreciation allowing the small business owner the opportunity to take a large expense deduction and reduce their tax obligation immediately.