Depreciation Tax Shield

What is Depreciation Tax Shield?

Depreciation Tax Shield is the tax saved resulting from the deduction of depreciation expense from the taxable income and can be calculated by multiplying the tax rate with the depreciation expense. Companies using accelerated depreciation methods (higher depreciation in initial years) are able to save more taxes due to higher value of tax shield. However, the straight-line depreciation method, the depreciation shield is lower.

Depreciation Tax Shield Formula

Depreciation tax shield = Tax Rate x Depreciation Expense

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For eg:
Source: Depreciation Tax Shield (

If company XYZ has a depreciation expense of $50,000 and the tax rate is 30%, then the calculation of depreciation tax shied will be as follows –

Depreciation tax shield = 30% x $50,000 = $15,000


Let us look at a detailed example when a company prepares its tax income 1) accounting for depreciation expense and 2) not taking depreciation expense.

Case 1 – Taxable Income (with Depreciation Expense)

Tax to be paid by considering Depreciation

The tax rate considered in the example is 40%.

The Amount of Tax to be paid is calculated as –

  • TAX to be Paid over Income = (Revenues- Operating Expenses-Depreciation-Interest Expenses) x tax rate
  • or EBT x tax rate

We note that when depreciation expense is considered, EBTEBTPretax income is a company's net earnings calculated after deducting all the expenses, including cash expenses like salary expense, interest expense, and non-cash expenses like depreciation and other charges from the total revenue generated before deducting the income tax more is negative, and therefore taxes paid by the company over the period of 4 years is Zero.

Case 2 – Taxable Income (not considering Depreciation Expense)

Example 1

In Case we don’t take the Depreciation into account, then the Total Tax to be paid by the company is 1381 Dollar.

Why is Depreciation Tax Shield important?

How Accelerated Depreciation Works on Tax Savings?

Assumption – For 1MW Solar Power Plant

The Life of Solar Power Plant is considered as 25 Years, but in this example, we have considered the time period for 4 years only.

The booked Depreciation Tax shield is under the Straight Line method as per the company act. The net benefit of accelerated depreciation when we compare to the straight-line method is illustrated in the table below.

Time PeriodYears1234
Book Depreciation%5.28%5.28%5.28%5.28%
Book Depreciation CapitalDollars$52.08$52.08$52.08$52.08
Allowed During the Year%40%48%10%2%
Accelerated DepreciationDollars$400.00$480.00$96.00$19.20
Net Depreciation Benefit$347.00$427.00$43.20$ (33.60)
Tax Benefit33.99%$118.01$145.21$14.68$ (11.42)

We note from above that the Tax Shield has a direct impact on the profits as net income will come down if depreciation expense is increasing, resulting in less tax burden.

This has been a guide to What is Depreciation Tax Shield. Here we discuss the formula to calculate tax shield on depreciation along with practical examples.  You may learn more about accounting from the following articles –