Write-Down

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What is a 'Write-Down'

A write-down is reducing the book value of an asset because it is overvalued compared to the market value. A write-down typically occurs on a company's financial statement, when the carrying value of the asset can no longer be justified as fair value and the likelihood of receiving the cost (book value) is questionable at best.

BREAKING DOWN 'Write-Down'

Write-downs are typically reflected in a company's income statement as an above-the-line expense, thereby reducing net income. This, however, is not always a bad thing, since a write-down is simply a paper loss, which, since it lowers net income, will reduce a firm's tax burden. Companies will usually attempt to time large write-downs together, so they can "take a bath" in one reporting period with the hope of quickly recovering in the next period.

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