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Jan 19, 2024

Depreciation: Rates & Provisions in India's Companies Act, 2013

Shebi Sharma



For businesses managing their finances, it's crucial to grasp the concept of depreciation. It's not just a fancy accounting trick but a vital tool for acknowledging the wear and tear of assets, and their decreasing usefulness over time, and ultimately, it provides an accurate picture of a company's financial well-being. In India, the Companies Act, 2013 (CA, 2013) outlines the rules for calculating depreciation, making sure that businesses follow a clear and standardized approach.

The Income Tax Act of 1961 sets depreciation rates for tax reasons, but the CA, 2013, takes a more adaptable stance. It focuses on an asset's useful life, enabling companies to decide depreciation rates based on the anticipated operational period and remaining value. This blog explores the details of depreciation rules under the CA, 2013, giving you the knowledge to effectively handle your company's asset valuation.

Key Principles of Depreciation under CA, 2013:

Useful Life: The cornerstone of depreciation under CA, 2013 is the useful life of an asset. This refers to the period for which the asset is expected to generate economic benefits for the company. Unlike the Income Tax Act, which prescribes fixed rates for certain assets, the CA, 2013 empowers companies to assess and determine the useful life specific to their operations and industry practices.

Residual Value: Depreciation recognizes that an asset's value decreases over time, but may retain some salvage value at the end of its useful life. The CA, 2013 allows companies to consider a residual value, typically a percentage of the original cost, which represents the estimated recoverable amount upon disposal of the asset.

Depreciation Methods: Companies have the flexibility to choose between two widely accepted methods for calculating depreciation under the CA, 2013:

  1. Straight Line Method (SLM): This method depreciates the asset's cost, excluding residual value, evenly over its useful life. It's a simple and transparent method, suitable for assets with predictable wear and tear.

  2. Written Down Value (WDV) Method: This method applies a depreciation rate to the asset's carrying value, which is the original cost minus accumulated depreciation. The depreciation rate typically decreases each year, resulting in a declining depreciation charge over time. This method better reflects the diminishing utility of assets, particularly those prone to rapid obsolescence.

Depreciation Rates: Finding the Sweet Spot:

While the CA, 2013 doesn't prescribe specific depreciation rates, Schedule II of the Act provides indicative useful lives for various asset categories. These can serve as a starting point for companies to determine their own rates, considering factors like:

Industry standards and practices: Benchmarks within the company's industry can offer valuable insights into useful life estimation.

Asset quality and usage: The quality and intensity of asset usage can significantly impact its lifespan. Companies should factor in expected operating conditions and maintenance practices.

Technological advancements: Rapid technological advancements can shorten the useful life of certain assets. Companies need to stay updated on industry trends and potential obsolescence risks.

Additional Provisions under CA, 2013:

Double/Triple Shift Depreciation: If an asset is operated for double or triple shifts, the CA, 2013 allows for an increase in depreciation rate by 50% and 100%, respectively, to account for the intensified wear and tear.

Depreciation on Significant Parts: For assets consisting of multiple components with vastly different useful lives, the CA, 2013 permits separate depreciation calculations for each significant part based on its individual useful life and cost.

Change in Use of Asset: If an asset's usage pattern changes significantly, necessitating a revision in its useful life estimate, the CA, 2013 allows for adjusting the depreciation rate accordingly.

Plant & Machinery Depreciation Calculator (CA, 2013)

Calculating depreciation according to the Companies Act, 2013 has been in effect since the financial year 2014-15. Companies must figure out depreciation based on an asset's cost, lifespan, and residual value, as specified by the Companies Act.

Companies can choose between SLM and WDV for calculating depreciation. Schedule II outlines the useful life of asset classes, and an asset's residual value shouldn't surpass 5% of its original value.

Companies have the option to adopt a longer useful life or a residual value exceeding 5%, but they must provide justification and technical advice when filing tax returns.

The depreciation calculation method should be stated in the company's accounts. For asset purchases or sales, calculations are based on the date of the transaction.

Assets with No Extra Shift depreciation maintain a constant depreciation rate. If an asset is used for a double shift, the rate increases by 50%, and for a triple shift, it increases by 100%. Each part of an asset is considered separately for depreciation, taking into account its cost significance.

The formula for Straight Line Method (SLM) depreciation is:

Depreciation = [(Original Cost – Residual Value) / Useful Life] * 100

So, the depreciation using SLM is calculated by multiplying the Original Cost by the Rate of Depreciation under SLM, as determined by the provided formula.

The formula for Written Down Value (WDV) depreciation is:

Depreciation Rate (R) = {1 - (S / C) ^1/n} x 100
  • R: Depreciation Rate (%)
  • S: Scrap Value
  • C: Cost/Written Down Value
  • n: Remaining Useful Life (years)

Determining appropriate depreciation rates and methods can be complex, requiring careful consideration of various factors. Seeking professional guidance from chartered accountants and financial advisors can be invaluable in ensuring compliance with the CA, 2013 requirements and optimizing depreciation practices for accurate financial reporting and informed decision-making.

Depreciation under the CA, 2013 offers flexibility and adaptability but also demands thoughtful and responsible application. By understanding the key principles, provisions, and factors influencing depreciation rates, companies can navigate effectively, ensuring accurate asset valuation, transparent financial reporting, and ultimately, making informed strategic decisions for sustainable growth.

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