Capital Lease

Definition of 'Capital Lease'


A lease considered to have the economic characteristics of asset ownership. A capital lease would be considered a purchased asset for accounting purposes. An operating lease, on the other hand, would be handled as a true lease, or rental, for accounting purposes. The choice of lease classification will have important results on a firm's financial statements. A lease falls into this category if any of the following requirements are met:

1. The life of the lease is 75% or greater of the assets useful life.

2. The lease contains a purchase agreement for less than market value.

3. The lessee gains ownership at the end of the lease period.

4. The present value of lease payments is greater than 90% of the asset's market value.

Investopedia explains 'Capital Lease'


A capital lease is an example of accrual accounting's inclusion of economic events. Generally, companies have a choice of which type of lease they wish to use for accounting purposes, however, both types of leases provide specific advantages and disadvantages to financial statements. For example, companies wishing to show a higher return on asset ratios would choose an operating lease, as the balance sheet would not account for the item as an asset, thus reducing the denominator in the ratio.


Filed Under:

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  2. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
  3. Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.
  4. Class Action

    An action where an individual represents a group in a court claim. The judgment from the suit is for all the members of the group (class).
  5. Retail Sales

    An aggregated measure of the sales of retail goods over a stated time period, typically based on a data sampling that is extrapolated to model an entire country. In the U.S., the retail sales report is a monthly economic indicator compiled and released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce.
  6. Okun's Law

    The relationship between an economy's unemployment rate and its gross national product (GNP). Twentieth-century economist Arthur Okun developed this idea, which states that when unemployment falls by 1%, GNP rises by 3%. However, the law only holds true for the U.S.
Trading Center