What is a Depreciation Rate?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2019
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A depreciation rate is the pace or rate at which the monetary value of an object decreases over time. Identifying this gradual asset value decline is often important when it comes to claiming tax deductions provided by various tax agencies, as well as determining the current market value of the asset. In most situations, the depreciation rate is presented as a percentage.

There are a number of different formulas used to determine the depreciation rate of a given asset. A basic approach is to identify the depreciable cost of the asset and then divide that figure by the number of calendar years that the asset can reasonably be expected to remain useful or productive. In some situations, the approach may be less concerned with the number of years the asset is expected to remain useful. The amount of output that the asset will generate during those years will serve as one of the main factors in determining the depreciation rate.


Many different types of assets are subject to depreciation of some type. Automobiles are an example. Assets of this type are expected to have a certain useful life span, and the overall value of the car or truck will decrease somewhat during each year of operation. While methods of deprecation calculation may vary somewhat from one jurisdiction to another, identifying that rate of decline in value is important when assessing the annual taxes assessed by the jurisdictions where the vehicle is registered. That same depreciation rate is often one of the criteria used to determine the current resale or trade-in value of the vehicle in the event that the owner chooses to sell the asset at some point.

Calculating a depreciation rate is also helpful when claiming property losses on annual tax returns. This is true in situations where property values in an area decline and adversely affect the investment that the property owner has made in a tract of land. In many nations, this type of depreciation is taken into account, and the taxpayer is able to claim the loss on his or her taxes, which helps to offset the total taxes due on any income generated during the same period.

In general, a depreciation rate is only applicable to tangible assets. Essentially, any tangible asset that is capable of providing some type of satisfaction or return to the owner is subject to depreciation. There are situations where this loss in value is offset by other factors, such as an increase in consumer demand. One example of this type of phenomenon is with specific makes and models of vehicles that capture the attention of car aficionados and actually maintain a value close to or even more than the original purchase price.


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