Capital Asset

The term capital asset has three unrelated technical definitions, and is also used in a variety of non-technical ways.

  • In financial economics, it refers to any asset used to make money, as opposed to assets used for personal enjoyment or consumption. This is an important distinction because two people can disagree sharply about the value of personal assets, one person might think a sports car is more valuable than a pickup truck, another person might have the opposite taste. But if an asset is held for the purpose of making money, taste has nothing to do with it, only differences of opinion about how much money the asset will produce. With the further assumption that people agree on the probability distribution of future cash flows, it is possible to have an objective Capital asset pricing model. Even without the assumption of agreement, it is possible to set rational limits on capital asset value.
  • In governmental accounting, it is defined as any asset used in operations with an initial useful life extending beyond one reporting period. Generally, government managers have a "stewardship" duty to maintain capital assets under their control. See International Public Sector Accounting Standards for details.
  • In some income tax systems, gains and losses from capital assets are treated differently than other income. Sale of non-capital assets, such as inventory or stock of goods held for sale, generally is taxed in the same manner as other income. Capital assets generally include those assets outside the daily scope of business operations, such as investment or personal assets. The United States system defines a capital asset by exclusion. Capital assets include all assets except inventory of supplies or property held for sale (including subdivided real estate), depreciable property used in a business, accounts or notes receivable, certain commodities derivatives and hedging items, and certain copyrights and similar property held by the creator of the property. The United Kingdom has an even broader definition.

Read more about Capital AssetNon-technical and Ambiguous Usage

Other articles related to "capital asset, assets, capital assets, capital, asset":

Capital Asset - Non-technical and Ambiguous Usage
... For example it is often used as a synonym for fixed assets or for investments in securities ... that employees or the environment or something else be treated as a capital asset ... Capital assets should not be confused with the capital a financial institution is required to hold ...
Commissioner V. Idaho Power Co. - Rule
... workers are treated as part of the cost of acquisition of a capital asset ... with construction or acquisition of a capital asset they must be capitalized and are then entitled to be amortized over the life of the capital asset so acquired ...
Ordinary Income
... Ordinary income is usually characterized as income other than capital gain ... A "short term capital gain", or gain on the sale of an asset held for less than one year of the capital gains holding period, is taxed as ordinary income ... Ordinary income stands in contrast to capital gain, which is defined as gain from the sale or exchange of a capital asset ...
Surrogatum Principle - Case Law
... represents the price paid for the loss or sterilization of a capital asset and is therefore a capital and not a revenue receipt … On the other hand when the benefit surrendered on ... the rights of the taxpayer under the agreement constituted a capital asset and the sum paid for their cancellation was a capital receipt ... Exchequer Court found the damages to be capital ...
List Of Important Publications In Economics - Finance - Capital Asset Pricing Model
... William Forsyth Sharpe "Capital asset prices A theory of market equilibrium under conditions of risk", Journal of Finance, 19 (3), 1964, 425–442 Description ...

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