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What is a noncash expense?

A noncash expense is an expense that is reported on the income statement of the current accounting period, but there was no related cash payment during the period.

A common example of a noncash expense is depreciation. For instance, if a company purchased equipment on December 31, 2012 for $200,000 cash, it could have Depreciation Expense of $20,000 in each of the next 10 years. As a result its income statement will report Depreciation Expense of $20,000 in each of the years 2013 through 2022. Since there is no cash payment in any of those years, each year's $20,000 of depreciation expense is referred to as a noncash expense.