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What is a Gross Block?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A gross block is a term used to describe the total worth of all the assets currently in the possession of a business operation. This figure does not exclude depreciation on those assets, meaning that the worth of a given asset is usually based on the total cost involved in acquiring that asset. This is in contrast to a net block, which does allow for depreciation when determining the total value of all assets currently in the possession of the company.

When determining the gross block of a company’s assets, all costs involved in the acquisition of those assets are taken into consideration. This means that the purchase price alone may or may not constitute the total value of a given asset. If there were various fees and charges that were necessary to the process of acquisition, those additional costs are also accounted for in determining the gross block. This is particularly true with real estate assets, since closing costs and other fees are often involved in the acquisition.

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There are several reasons why identifying the gross block is helpful to a company. One has to do with understanding exactly how much of an investment has been made in each of the assets currently held. By understanding what it cost to acquire the assets, it is much easier to determine the amount of actual profit generated as a result of holding those assets. Simply looking at the purchase price or even the current market value of the assets cannot provide a truly accurate understanding of whether the assets are generating a return, managing to cover those expenses, or failing to earn enough profit to justify continuing to hold onto those assets.

In some nations, tax laws also make it necessary to properly assess the gross block of assets. Doing so makes it easier to take the total value of those assets into consideration when attempting to claim exemptions or otherwise prepare tax returns. Understanding the gross block provides a starting point for determining if any depreciation can be claimed on various assets, and if those claims will have a significant impact on the amount of taxes owed for the tax period under consideration. Since tax laws vary somewhat from one nation to another, obtaining professional assistance with evaluating the total value of assets for tax purposes can be very important. Doing so may result in identifying ways to claim exemptions that help to lower the tax burden in a given period by a significant amount.

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