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Classification of Capital And Revenue Expenditure

Expenditure on fixed assets may be classified into Capital Expenditure and Revenue Expenditure. The distinction between the nature of capital and revenue expenditure is important as only capital expenditure is included in the cost of fixed asset.

Capital Expenditure

Capital expenditure includes costs incurred on the acquisition of a fixed asset and any subsequent expenditure that increases the earning capacity of an existing fixed asset.

The cost of acquisition not only includes the cost of purchases but also any additional costs incurred in bringing the fixed asset into its present location and condition (e.g. delivery costs).

Capital expenditure, as opposed to revenue expenditure, is generally of a one-off kind and its benefit is derived over several accounting periods. Capital Expenditure may include the following:

  • Purchase costs (less any discount received)
  • Delivery costs
  • Legal charges
  • Installation costs
  • Up gradation costs
  • Replacement costs

As capital expenditure results in increase in the fixed asset of the entity, the accounting entry is as follows:

Debit Fixed Assets
Credit Cash/Payables

Revenue expenditure incurred on fixed assets include costs that are aimed at ‘maintaining’ rather than enhancing the earning capacity of the assets. These are costs that are incurred on a regular basis and the benefit from these costs is obtained over a relatively short period of time. For example, a company buys a machine for the production of biscuits. Whereas the initial purchase and installation costs would be classified as capital expenditure, any subsequent repair and maintenance charges incurred in the future will be classified as revenue expenditure. This is so because repair and maintenance costs do not increase the earning capacity of the machine but only maintains it (i.e. machine will produce the same quantity of biscuits as it did when it was first put to use).

Revenue costs therefore comprise of the following:

  • Repair costs
  • Maintenance charges
  • Repainting costs
  • Renewal expenses

As revenue costs do not form part of the fixed asset cost, they are expensed in the income statement in the period in which they are incurred. The accounting entry to record revenue expenditure is therefore as follows:

Debit Revenue Expense (Income Statement)
Credit Cash/Payables

Capital expenditures are for fixed assets, which are expected to be productive assets for a long period of time. Revenue expenditures are for costs that are related to specific revenue transactions or operating periods, such as the cost of goods sold or repairs and maintenance expense. Thus, the differences between these two types of expenditures are as follows:

  • Timing. Capital expenditures are charged to expense gradually via depreciation, and over a long period of time. Revenue expenditures are charged to expense in the current period, or shortly thereafter.
  • Consumption. A capital expenditure is assumed to be consumed over the useful lifeof the related fixed asset. A revenue expenditure is assumed to be consumed within a very short period of time.
  • Size. A more questionable difference is that capital expenditures tend to involve larger monetary amounts than revenue expenditures. This is because an expenditure is only classified as a capital expenditure if it exceeds a certain threshold value; if not, it is automatically designated as a revenue expenditure. However, certain quite large expenditures can still be classified as revenue expenditures, as long they are directly associated with sale transactions or are period costs.

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