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What do I do to indicate I no longer own a car after trading it in for another car?

I had my old car listed as an asset, not tied to any loans because it had been paid off already. I traded in my old car and got $1000 trade in value when I got my new car. I've listed the new car as an asset tied to the loan. But I don't know what to do with the old car's asset account. Do I just close it?
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Best Answer

  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 3 Accepted Answer
    Just closing the Account might accomplish what you want, maybe, but it's not the correct accounting entry.  You have an asset on your balance sheet and just having that asset vanish into thin air doesn't reflect what actually happened to the vehicle.  You, in effect, "sold" that car for $1,000, recognizing a gain or a loss on the sale, and then used that $1,000 as part of your purchase of the new car.
    An example of a comprehensive accounting entry using the following made-up numbers:
    1. Old car held on balance sheet in the amount of $2,500, no loan on the car.
    2. New car purchased with a stated selling price of $25,000
    3. Loan on new car in the amount of $20,000
    4. Cash payment of $4,000 to dealer for new car
    5. Trade in value of old car is $1,000
    Debit (increase) New Car Asset Account       $25,000
    Debit (increase) Loss on Sale Category            $ 1,500
    Credit (decrease) Old Car Asset Account        $2,500
    Credit (increase) New Car Loan Account       $20,000
    Credit (decrease) Cash in Checking Account $4,000

    To make this a little more comprehensible you could break the accounting into two pieces, one for the "sale" of the old car and the other for the new car purchase:
    Debit (increase) Cash in Hand Account     $1,000
    Debit (increase) Loss on Sale Category     $1,500
    Credit (decrease) Old Car Asset Account $2,500
    Debit (increase) New Car Asset Account     $25,000
    Credit (increase) New Car Loan Account     $20,000
    Credit (decrease) Cash in Checking Account $4,000
    Credit (decrease) Cash in Hand Account  $1,000
    The offsetting entries in the "Cash in Hand Account" leaves the balance in that "Account" at $0, so you can avoid making this entry in the "comprehensive" accounting entry.
    If you have the new car established on your balance sheet at the correct amount and the associated loan also at the correct amount then having that old car Account simply "vanish" will give you a correct balance sheet presentation, at the cost of misstating your Income and Expense report.  But you get to decide which route to take.

Answers

  • maxwelwp
    maxwelwp Member, Windows Beta Beta
    You can certainly do that (close it) to maintain the history associated with it in your datafile.

    “Never stop dreaming, never stop believing, never give up, never stop trying, and 
    never stop learning.”
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 3 Accepted Answer
    Just closing the Account might accomplish what you want, maybe, but it's not the correct accounting entry.  You have an asset on your balance sheet and just having that asset vanish into thin air doesn't reflect what actually happened to the vehicle.  You, in effect, "sold" that car for $1,000, recognizing a gain or a loss on the sale, and then used that $1,000 as part of your purchase of the new car.
    An example of a comprehensive accounting entry using the following made-up numbers:
    1. Old car held on balance sheet in the amount of $2,500, no loan on the car.
    2. New car purchased with a stated selling price of $25,000
    3. Loan on new car in the amount of $20,000
    4. Cash payment of $4,000 to dealer for new car
    5. Trade in value of old car is $1,000
    Debit (increase) New Car Asset Account       $25,000
    Debit (increase) Loss on Sale Category            $ 1,500
    Credit (decrease) Old Car Asset Account        $2,500
    Credit (increase) New Car Loan Account       $20,000
    Credit (decrease) Cash in Checking Account $4,000

    To make this a little more comprehensible you could break the accounting into two pieces, one for the "sale" of the old car and the other for the new car purchase:
    Debit (increase) Cash in Hand Account     $1,000
    Debit (increase) Loss on Sale Category     $1,500
    Credit (decrease) Old Car Asset Account $2,500
    Debit (increase) New Car Asset Account     $25,000
    Credit (increase) New Car Loan Account     $20,000
    Credit (decrease) Cash in Checking Account $4,000
    Credit (decrease) Cash in Hand Account  $1,000
    The offsetting entries in the "Cash in Hand Account" leaves the balance in that "Account" at $0, so you can avoid making this entry in the "comprehensive" accounting entry.
    If you have the new car established on your balance sheet at the correct amount and the associated loan also at the correct amount then having that old car Account simply "vanish" will give you a correct balance sheet presentation, at the cost of misstating your Income and Expense report.  But you get to decide which route to take.
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