deferred chargesAn accounting and tax concept in which nontangible costs that are expected to provide value over a number of years are booked as assets and then reduced each year by a pro rata amount as they are charged to expenses.
Acme Inc. pays a broker $75,000 to negotiate a 10-year lease on very favorable terms.
Year 1, day 1: Acme writes a check for $75,000 and books an asset for $75,000.
Year 1, day 2: Acme enters an expense for $7,500 (one-tenth of the total amount) and reduces the asset by $7,500. The net result is that, at the end of year 1, Acme has $75,000 missing from its bank account, but this is balanced by an asset of $67,500 and an expense of $7,500.
Years 2 through 10: Continue the same process as year 1, day 2 until the deferred charge is finally $0 and the last $7,500 is expensed.
If you do not properly account for such deferred charges on your taxes, you risk an audit, disallowance of expenses, penalties, and interest.