How do you calculate an asset's salvage value?

Definition of Asset Salvage Value

In accounting, an asset's salvage value is the estimated amount that a company will receive at the end of a plant asset's useful life. It is the amount of an asset's cost that will not be part of the depreciation expense during the years that the asset is used in the business.

Salvage value is also referred to as disposal value, residual value, or scrap value.

Example of Asset Salvage Value

Perhaps the most common calculation of an asset's salvage value is to assume there will be no salvage value. As a result, the entire cost of the asset used in the business will be charged to depreciation expense during the years of the asset's expected useful life.

A salvage value of zero is reasonable since it is assumed that the asset will no longer be useful at the point when the depreciation expense ends. Even if the company receives a small amount, it may be offset by costs of removing and disposing of the asset.