One-Time Item

DEFINITION of 'One-Time Item'

An accounting item in a company's income statement that is non-recurring in nature. In order to get a true gauge of a company's operating performance, one-time items are usually excluded by analysts and investors while evaluating a company. One-time items usually have a negative impact on operating earnings, but may occasionally have a positive impact as well.


One-time items that negatively impact earnings include restructuring charges, charges for discontinued operations, expenses due to accidents and natural disasters, loss on the sale of an asset and so on. Examples of one-time items that positively impact earnings include a gain on an asset sale or a gain on debt buy-back.

A number of companies routinely book one-time items, such as restructuring charges, on a regular basis, which creates some confusion among investors about whether these items are really one-time in nature or are being incurred in the normal course of business.