One-Time Charge


DEFINITION of 'One-Time Charge'

A charge against earnings that is expected to be an isolated one and not likely to occur again. A one-time charge can either be a cash charge - for example, severance expenses associated with workforce reduction and early retirement - or a non-cash charge, such as an asset write-down. One-time charges are routinely excluded by analysts when evaluating a company's continued earnings potential.

BREAKING DOWN 'One-Time Charge'

While some charges are clearly one-time in nature, many companies wrongly book charges that are incurred in the normal course of business as one-time charges - a tendency that investors need to watch out for. For example, a technology company may be justified if it writes off restructuring charges as a one-time charge. But if the company also writes down inventory every other quarter and tries to pass it off as one-time charges, then it is debatable if these inventory write-down charges are truly one-time in nature.

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