I purchased a new vehicle and traded in my old one. Figures are as follows
Old truck cost: $13500
Trade in on old truck: $5000
Accum Dep. on old truck: $8000
New truck cost: $18600
Note Payable: $13600
Would this be the correct way to account for the sale of an asset and the
purchase of the new asset with trade in?
General Journal entry
Fixed Asset Acct. (old truck) $13500
Fixed Asset Dep. Acct. $8000
New Vehicle Asset Acct. $5000
Asset Sale Proceeds (income acct) $500
New Vehicle Fixed Asset Acct. $18600
Truck (old) 13,500
Accum Depr (old) 8,000
Loss on Disposal 500
Truck (new) 18,600
Notes Payable 13,600
The above is a book entry (financial reporting)
the entry for tax purpose is different.
For tax purposes, if it's a trade-in, there's no
loss recognized (it's considered a like-kind exchange), you
build the loss into the basis of the new truck, therefore,
the new truck (for tax purposes only) has a cost basis
of 19,100 rather than 18,600.
I could not disagree more with your GAAP entry. Trade-in values,
especially when trucks and autos are concerned mean absolutely nothing. How
many of us have walked into a dealership and been offered $500 for our
trade-in and then went into another dealership and been offered 10,000? Its
all bullshit, a game, a con, certainly not an arms length transaction. The
dealership will just raise or lower the asking price of the new vehicle to
compensate for what ever they allow on the trade.
I will never forget the words of the last auto salesman I walked out on,
"I'll give you $10,000 for your trade-in and I don't even want to look at
it". "Hey that's wonderful", I said. "Let me pull down my pants and bend
over so I can make it easy for you."
There are only two things certain when we trade-in a vehicle for a new one,
the adjusted basis of the old car and the cash outlay we must make to drive
out of the showroom. I say the tax and GAAP entry should be the same.
I say you look up the trade in value in Kelly Blue Book and that is the amount
As for the deal with the dealer, first take it to some other place and tell them
it is an estate sale and get their offer. Now you know what it is worth. When
you make the deal to trade, have them value it at $1 and drop the new car/truck
price to match. Now you just paid less sales tax and vehicle license tax and
lowered the cost of the loan.
Indeed, "smells like" is a euphemism... :)
This state instituted law that requires stated value on title transfer
to be Blue Book or equivalent unless there's documentable justification
for significantly under. It's checked on registration so the dealer
would get caught immediately upon resale of any vehicle not scrapped or
taken out of state (whereupon registration might prove problematical for
a new owner as well, depending on particular laws).
All in all, a scam that used to not get caught often if at all; now I'd
guess fair likelihood other jurisdictions have similar laws/regulations
I was referring to fraud by the seller. If the trade-in is stated as $1 when
in fact it is worth much more the profit is not realized until the trade is
eventually sold, when it should have been realized when the new car was
First, which seller? Each party is both buyer and seller.
Dealer made a great deal buying it under market.
New car owner made a great deal getting it without a lot of markup.
As long as the amounts remain reasonable prove otherwise.
Based on the facts given, I stand by the entry as given. If the
facts were such that the buyer of the new truck was walking away
w/ 10,000 in his pocket and a loan of 23,600 rather than what was
provided then there are atcually 2 transactions which need to be
accounted for separately, one is the sale of the truck, the other is a
loan and the both transactions need a closer look for reasonableness.
Again, based on the facts given, the original entry is fine.
As far as Tax & GAAP being the same, unless the books are
maintained on a tax basis of accounting, you're wrong.
For book (financial statement) purposes, you depreciate the truck
using a reasonable method and life. For Tax purposes, there are
set rules for depreciation of vehicles. Some have artificial caps
(e.g., "Luxury Auto" rules), some incentivize the business to buy
assets and give and immediate write-off (e.g., IRC 179), in a given
year such as last year and this year, there is Bonus Depreciation.
None of these manufactured adjustments to depreciation apply
for GAAP purposes. Of course, if the books are maintained
on a Tax Basis, then you're correct and the there is no difference
between the book & tax entries.
However, we're getting pretty far afield here on a very
basic response to a very basic question w/ a very basic (and
reasonable) set of facts given.
I would also venture to say that in this case the trade-in of one truck for
another plus boot lacks commercial substance and thefore any gain or loss
would be deferred for both tax and GAAP reporting.
21. A nonmonetary exchange has commercial substance if the entity's future
cash flows5b are expected to significantly change as a result of the
entity's future cash flows are expected to significantly change if either of
following criteria is met:
a. The configuration (risk, timing, and amount)5c of the future cash flows
asset(s) received differs significantly from the configuration of the future
flows of the asset(s) transferred.
b. The entity-specific value5d of the asset(s) received differs from the
value of the asset(s) transferred, and the difference is significant in
relation to the fair values of the assets exchanged.
A qualitative assessment will, in some cases, be conclusive in determining
the estimated cash flows of the entity are expected to significantly change
result of the exchange.
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