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I traded in a business vehicle that I owed more than was given as a trade. The book value was also a loss. How do I show this as a journal entry?


Expert Donna Atkins's Answer:

  Credit the Asset Cost (Old Car).

  Debit the Accumulated Depreciation on the Asset (Old Car).

  Debit the Fair Value of the New Car.

  If the Debt continues to be paid by you - leave it on your books.

  If the Debt will be paid by the new owner of the old car, then debit the liability.

  Credit gain for the difference (assuming you received more in the trade).


This is an accounting entry only.  For tax purposes the value of the new vehicle (assuming a like kind exchange - business vehicle for business vehicle) will be the book value of the old vehicle (with depreciation taken up to date of sale) plus any excess cash you pay for the new vehicle.  If a debt you owe on the old vehicle is taken over by the other party or if the other party to the transaction gives you cash in the trade, then you'll need to report gain on the transaction up to the amount of the cash received or debt relieved.  In this instance the tax value is the book value of the old vehicle plus any gain recognized for tax purposes on the exchange.   



Donna Atkins, CPA

New Hampshire

21 yrs experience

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