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Tangible Assets vs Intangible Assets: What’s the Difference?

Holystone Empresa

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An acquiree may have preexisting noncompete agreements in place at the time of the acquisition. As those agreements arise from a legal or contractual right, they would meet the contractual-legal criterion and represent an acquired asset that would be recognized as part of the business combination. The terms, conditions, and enforceability of noncompete agreements may affect the fair value assigned to the intangible asset but would not affect their recognition.

Brand equity is also not a physical asset but determined by consumer perception and has an economic value, which helps in increasing sales of the company products. It can be considered under intangible fixed assets list since it provides value to the business for many years. Usually, the values of intangible assets are not recorded in the balance sheet.

Intangible Personal Property vs. Tangible Personal Property

Depending on the item, the nature of your business, when the item was purchased and other factors, you may be taxed on the fair market value of your TPP. This is especially true if your total TPP value exceeds a specific number. So, if your county taxes your personal motor vehicles each year, your tax bill will be based on the perceived market value of the vehicle. They will use the vehicle’s make and model, manufacture year, mileage and condition to determine what it’s potentially worth for taxation purposes.

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Intangible Assets may give your business future economic benefits in a variety of ways. This may include revenue from the sale of goods and services, cost savings, or other benefits arising from the use of the asset. In addition to paying sales tax on the things you buy, you may also be required to pay taxes on its perceived fair market value later on. These personal and business taxes are assessed on certain tangible personal property items, depending on where you live and what you own. Here’s a look at what tangible personal property is and how it can affect your tax bill.

Intangible Personal Property

You control the asset if you hold the power to receive future economic benefits from that particular asset. This particular category of the property resembles the dwelling places, like houses, villas, condominiums, apartments, resorts, mansions, etc. Every taxpayer needs to pay the tax based on the assessed value of these properties done by a property appraiser. From the name itself, you can understand that this type of property is one where farmers can cultivate crops. It doesn’t matter what kind of crop he is growing; every agricultural landowner is a taxpayer who needs to pay a certain part of the tax to the government. A customer list represents a list of known, identifiable customers that contains information about those customers, such as name and contact information.

  • Another type of asset that comes under the taxation rule of different US states is tangible properties.
  • Instead, the favorable or unfavorable terms of the lease will now be included in the right-of-use asset.
  • You must carry intangible assets at Cost less Accumulated Amortization and Impairment Loss once you have recognized them.
  • Lisa Jo Rudy covers entrepreneurship and small business finance and terms for The Balance.

Remember, this recognition criterion applies to both self-created or intangible assets acquired externally. However, there exist additional criteria for self-created or internally generated intangible assets. For instance, a real property valuation is based on the market price. In some states, the entire market price is considered in valuation, while in some, only a percentage of the market price is considered. Rather they have a virtual form about which you know, but physically, they are non-existent.

Tangible Assets vs. Intangible Assets: An Overview

However, you can determine the revalued amount of the asset only if there exists an active market for such an asset. However, you charge computer software as an expense if it is generated internally for use or sale. Provided, you are able to determine its feasibility and measure its reliability. However, this is possible only if you are able to determine the technical and commercial feasibility of the asset for sale or use. In addition to this, you must review the period of amortization at least annually. Provided IFRS does not require that such a charge must be included in the cost of any other asset.

Examples of tangible personal property are numerous, just a few examples are furniture, vehicles, baseball cards, cars, comic books, jewelry, and art. Intangible personal property includes assets such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, insurance policies, and retirement benefit accounts. Common disputes over intangible personal property can arise when the owner of the property attempts to sell or license it to another party. For example, the owner may claim that the property is worth more than the other party is willing to pay, or that the other party is not meeting their obligations under the terms of the agreement. Intangible personal property can also be the subject of theft, fraud, or misuse, which can lead to disputes between the owner and the party who took or used the property without permission. Disputes over intangible personal property can be difficult to resolve, as they often require expert testimony in order to determine the value of the property or establish whether it has been misused.

A customer list does not usually arise from contractual or other legal rights and, therefore, typically does not meet the contractual-legal criterion. However, customer lists may be leased or otherwise exchanged and, therefore, meet the separability criterion. An acquired customer list does not meet the separability criterion if the terms of confidentiality or other agreements prohibit an acquiree from leasing or otherwise exchanging information about its customers. Restrictions imposed by confidentiality or other agreements pertaining to customer lists do not impact the recognition of other customer-related intangible assets that meet the contractual-legal criterion. A lessee will no longer record favorable or unfavorable terms of the lease as a separate intangible asset. Instead, the favorable or unfavorable terms of the lease will now be included in the right-of-use asset.

Are the Tangible Properties Taxable?

Factors to consider when making this dedebit memoination include contractual requirements (e.g., automatic transfer of title) or a bargain purchase option. If it is expected that the acquirer will obtain ownership of the leased property, then the acquirer should record the property under capital lease at the fair value of the underlying property. In addition, any related leasehold improvements would be recognized and measured at fair value. Both tangible and intangible assets have value and can be bought and sold.


A base represents a group of customers that are not known or identifiable (e.g., persons who purchase newspapers from a newsstand or customers of a fast-food franchise or gas station). A customer base is generally not recognized separately as an intangible asset because it does not arise from contractual or legal rights and is not separable. However, a customer base may give rise to a customer list if information is obtained about the various customers. For example, a customer list may exist, even if only basic contact information about a customer, such as name and address or telephone number, is available.

In other words, you may be unable to touch the property, to physically see it, or to hold it in your hands. However, despite your inability to actually see the property, the property still has some type of actual value which the law recognizes and protects. There can be circumstances where you may not be able to determine such a pattern. In this case, you can amortize the intangible asset using the Straight Line Method. However, there are times when you use the economic returns generated from such an asset to produce other assets. In such a case, the Amortization cost forms part of the cost of the other asset.

customer list

Negative brand equity occurs when consumers are not willing to pay extra for a brand-name version of a product. For example, producers of commodity products, such as milk and eggs, may experience negative brand equity because many consumers are not concerned with the specific brands of the milk and eggs they purchase. If you want a perfect example of intangible goods, reach for your phone. The phone itself is a tangible good with a physical existence and probably a number of accessories as well.

Databases are collections of information, typically stored electronically. Sometimes databases that include original works of authorship can be protected by legal means, such as copyrights, and if so, meet the contractual-legal criterion. More frequently, databases are information collected through the normal operations of the business, such as customer information, scientific data, or credit information.

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The intangible assets are difficult to value, but companies should calculate the fair value of these kinds of assets. Tangible goods are most of the things that fill your life, from the appliances – «white goods» – in your kitchen and laundry room, to the electronics in your office, to the baked goods and coffee cups in your break room. Intangible goods are different because they have no physical existence. They’re things like intellectual property, licensed rights or websites, which can be bought and sold but not touched or handled.

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