Partial depreciation

The partial value depreciation is a term from tax law. The term describes an unscheduled depreciation of the partial value of an asset.

Definition / explanation

The partial value depreciation is mainly used in tax law. This is a process in which a lower partial value of an asset is depreciated in the form of an unscheduled depreciation - the partial value depreciation.

The depreciation and the name are provided in the Commercial Code §253. A general distinction is made between two forms of partial value depreciation. These are the partial value depreciation before the modernization of accounting law in 2009 and the modernized partial value depreciation, which is used for all fiscal years after 2009.

Before the modernization of accounting law in 2009

Bis 2009 war es handelsrechtlich erforderlich, dass das Umlaufvermögen immer auf den geringeren beizulegenden Wert abgeschrieben wird. Handelte es sich um eine dauernde reduction des Wertes musste, ansonsten konnte das angelegte Vermögen auf eine geringere Summe abgeschrieben werden.

In the area of income tax, the use of the partial value depreciation was only permitted if it was a permanent decrease in value. That was the case with the partial value depreciation Decisive factor Use. Therefore, the commercial depreciation had to take place on the lower of the two partial values. If the impairment was permanent, this procedure was also used in tax law, regulated in Section 5 of the Income Tax Act.

This made the previous option for partial depreciation in the area of fixed assets, at least when it was a question of permanent depreciation, compulsory.

It was often possible that differences between the tax and commercial balance sheets could arise when writing down current assets. This was possible because the commercial depreciation was carried out independently of a permanent decrease in value.

In tax law, however, depreciation in the event of a temporary decrease in value was prohibited. The imparity principle is applied to all regulations on partial value depreciation, whenever it comes to the valuation of liabilities.

After the modernization of accounting law from 2010

Capital assets

Even after the modernization of accounting law (BilMoG), a partial value depreciation is not permitted if it is not a permanent decrease in value. If the decrease in value is permanent, depreciation can still be made.

Corresponding regulations are laid down in accordance with Section 6 (1) No. 1 sentence 2 EStG. In contrast to commercial law, in this case the depreciation is voluntary. Section 5 (1) sentence 1 of the Income Tax Act grants a corresponding right to choose. In addition, the principle of relevance has been repealed. This means that a different depreciation is now possible under tax law than under commercial law.

This change means that, for example, there is an unscheduled depreciation in the commercial balance sheet, but this continues as planned in the tax balance sheet.

Current assets

The same applies here as for fixed assets. Depreciation is only permitted in the event of permanent impairment. This can lead to an inevitable discrepancy between the tax and commercial balance sheets.


Es gilt generell, dass niemals ein höherer Wert als die acquisition cost, abzüglich der planmäßigen Abschreibung ausgewiesen werden dürfen. Sollte der Teilwert wieder steigen, dann muss auf den neuen, höheren Wert zugeschrieben werden.

Here, too, the following applies: The write-up is up to a maximum of the acquisition cost, less the scheduled depreciation. Both procedures are identical in terms of both tax and commercial law. If the partial value remains the same, nothing changes in the following year. Otherwise there is a write-up or a new write-down.


  • Partial depreciation is a term from tax law
  • Method is used to write off the low value of a commodity
  • Two systems: before the modernization of accounting law in 2009 and after 2009
  • Differentiation between tax and commercial law
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