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Straight Line Basis


The Straight Line Basis is a method of calculating depreciation and amortization, the most commonly used method. It essentially distributes the cost evenly over the useful life of an asset. The formula for it is: (Cost of Asset – Salvage Value) / Useful life of the asset in years.


The phonetics of the keyword “Straight Line Basis” is: /streɪt laɪn ˈbeɪsɪs/

Key Takeaways

Straight Line Basis: Key Points

  1. Definition: The straight-line basis is a method of computing depreciation by dividing the difference between an asset’s cost and its expected salvage value by the useful life of the asset.
  2. Uniform Depreciation: One of the main characteristic of the straight-line basis is that it assumes the asset will depreciate uniformly over its useful life, which makes it a simplistic and easy-to-apply method.
  3. Application: It is commonly used for accounting and tax purposes due to its simplicity and because it generally offers the smallest depreciation expense in the early years of an asset’s life.


The business/finance term “Straight Line Basis” is important as it refers to a method of calculating depreciation and amortization, the two primary non-cash expense that companies incur. Under the straight-line basis, the depreciation or amortization for any given period is the same, making the calculation simple and straightforward. This uniform distribution of cost over the lifespan of an asset aids in accurate financial reporting, tax deduction, and overall financial management. Therefore, it’s a commonly employed method due to its simplicity and predictability, enabling businesses to plan their financial strategy effectively.


Straight Line Basis is an important concept primarily used in accounting and finance as a method of calculating either asset depreciation or interest expense. Essentially, it allows corporations and individual investors to predicts costs or losses in the long-term, granting them the ability to account for depreciation on assets or interest costs. It is a standard and systematic approach that evenly allocates the cost or another specified value of an asset over the period of its useful life.The versatility and simplicity of the Straight Line Basis methodology makes it popular across a wide range of areas. For instance, businesses often use this method to assess the depreciating value of their assets, such as machinery, equipment, or properties. By depreciating the cost linearly over the asset’s lifespan, companies can simultaneously reduce their taxable income and maintain a more accurate representation of their financial standings. For investors in bonds and other fixed-income assets, Straight Line Basis provides a clear expectation of the interest they’ll acquire over the lifespan of their investments.


1. Depreciation of Fixed Assets: One of the most common uses of straight line basis is in calculating the depreciation of fixed assets. For example, a company purchases a machine for $100,000 with an expected useful life of 10 years and a salvage value of $20,000. Using the straight-line method, the company would record $8,000 ($100,000 purchase price – $20,000 salvage value, divided by 10 years) in depreciation expense each year.2. Amortization of Intangible Assets: Similar to depreciation, intangible assets such as patents or licenses are often amortized on a straight-line basis over their legal or useful life. For instance, if a business buys a patent for $50,000 and it has 5 years of usability, it will amortize $10,000 every year ($50,000 divided by 5 years).3. Lease Agreements: In leasing transactions, the straight-line basis is used to record the lease expense or income evenly over the lease term. For instance, if a company leases out a property for 3 years for a total rent of $36,000, regardless of the actual timing of rent payments, the rental income recognized would be $12,000 per year ($36,000 total rent/3 years).

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Straight Line Basis?

Straight Line Basis is a method of accounting in which an asset’s depreciation or cost is divided evenly over its useful life. This method allows for an equal distribution of costs or expenses over the periods in which the asset is expected to be used.

How do businesses use Straight Line Basis?

Businesses use the Straight Line Basis for recording depreciation expense of major assets. This method helps simplify the computation and record of the asset’s depreciation.

How is depreciation calculated using Straight Line Basis?

The depreciation amount is calculated by subtracting the residual value of the asset from its original cost, then dividing that result by the expected useful life of the asset in years.

What is an example of Straight Line Basis?

If a company purchases a machine for $10,000 with a useful life of 10 years and no expected residual value, it would record $1,000 in depreciation each year for 10 years under the straight-line method.

Why do businesses often use the Straight Line Basis?

Businesses may choose to use the Straight Line Basis because it’s the simplest and most common depreciation method. This approach ensures the same expense is evenly distributed over the useful life of an asset which gives more predictability for budget preparation.

Can the Straight Line Basis be used for any type of asset?

This method is typically used for tangible fixed assets like buildings, vehicles, and machinery, but it can also be used with intangible assets like patents and copyrights, as long as those assets have a determinable useful life.

What are the potential drawbacks of using Straight Line Basis?

One potential drawback is that the Straight Line Basis does not account for accelerated usage or wear and tear on an asset. It assumes that the asset will be equally useful throughout its lifetime, which may not always be accurate.

Related Finance Terms

  • Depreciation
  • Amortization
  • Fixed assets
  • Useful life
  • Net book value

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