acquisition cost

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In accounting, acquisition costs are an original measurement standard for acquired assets or economic goods and are considered expenses incurred in order to acquire an asset and to put it in an operational state , provided that they can be individually assigned to the asset. Imputed costs are not part of the acquisition costs.


In Germany and Austria, a distinction is made between acquisition costs and production costs . Production costs are a measurement standard for manufactured assets, acquisition costs are a measurement standard for purchased tangible or intangible objects. The distinction has an impact on the valuation of an asset. The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US-GAAP) know only one measurement standard , called "acquisition or production cost" or "historical cost", which combines both measurement standards (see IAS 2 ).

Benchmark for the initial assessment

According to German Commercial Code (HGB) and the Austrian Commercial Code (UGB) of the cost of the assessment criteria for the initial assessment of acquired assets. Due to the in § 253 , para. 1 HGB or § 203 anchored UGB acquisition value principle the (continuing) cost of the highest value with which an asset may be evaluated in the subsequent period are. In the case of depreciable fixed assets , the acquisition costs are used to measure the scheduled depreciation . The acquisition costs reduced by scheduled depreciation are also called amortized acquisition costs. There are two exceptions to these principles in German accounting law. Assets that serve exclusively to meet pension obligations and are not accessible to all other creditors are to be recognized at their fair value in accordance with Section 253 (1) sentence 4 HGB . According to Section 340e of the German Commercial Code (HGB), this also applies to certain financial instruments on the balance sheet of credit institutions .

According to IFRS and US-GAAP, the cost of acquisition is the valuation standard for the initial valuation of numerous types of assets acquired. For example, acquired inventories must first be valued at acquisition cost. Other types of assets, such as certain financial instruments, are to be measured at fair value . The cost principle applies in these accounting systems for certain types of assets such as inventories and US GAAP for fixed assets.

In Germany, due to the principle of relevance in the commercial balance sheet for the tax balance sheet, the acquisition costs are also the valuation standard in the tax balance sheet for the initial valuation of acquired assets. Here, too, the acquisition value principle applies analogously to German commercial law. In addition to the tax balance sheet, the acquisition costs are a benchmark in other areas of German tax law.

Scope of the acquisition costs

According to German and Austrian accounting law, the acquisition costs are made up as follows:

   - Anschaffungspreisminderungen
   + zurechenbare Anschaffungsnebenkosten
   + nachträgliche Anschaffungskosten
   = Anschaffungskosten

The purchase price is the price that is paid for the acquisition of the asset. It usually results from invoices or sales contracts . If an asset is paid for in a foreign currency, the foreign currency amount is to be converted using the exchange rate that applies at the time of acquisition of beneficial ownership. If the exchange rate changes by the time of payment, the changes have no effect on the acquisition costs. If there is a total purchase price for several assets, this must be divided among the individual assets when applying the principle of individual valuation. In addition to other distribution keys, the purchase price can be divided according to the ratio of the current values ​​of the assets.

The sales tax is only part of the acquisition costs, as far as the purchaser does not receive it as input tax from the tax office ( § 9b Abs. 1 EStG) Discounts , rebates and bonuses reduce the acquisition costs. In German accounting law, there is an option to reduce the acquisition costs by non-repayable grants from third parties, if these are granted directly for the acquisition of the asset.

Ancillary acquisition costs are expenses that are incurred in addition to the acquisition price in order to acquire the asset, to bring it to its place of use and to put it into an operational condition. These include, for example, fees for entry into the land registry , notary fees , commissions , survey costs of land, land transfer and other non-refundable transfer taxes , transportation and freight costs, packaging costs, transport insurance contributions and taxes . Costs for building a foundation, for assembly and for connection to the gas, electricity and water networks are also incidental acquisition costs. Other additional costs are operating permits and costs for test runs. Sewer construction contributions, development, roadside and other communal contributions related to property ownership are incidental acquisition costs of a property. In order for the incidental acquisition costs to be capitalized, they must be directly attributable to the asset under German and Austrian accounting law. For example, administrative overheads are not included in the acquisition costs.

According to the value sacrifice theory , under certain circumstances the costs of the necessary demolition of an existing building can also be part of the acquisition costs of a property or building.

The purchase price financing costs are not part of the acquisition costs, unless they are used directly to finance the supplier's manufacturing process.

Subsequent acquisition costs are expenses that are incurred after the asset has been put into operation. Acquisition-related maintenance costs for buildings regularly represent acquisition costs in German tax law. Repair and maintenance costs are not included in acquisition costs.

Components according to IFRS and US-GAAP

According to IFRS and US-GAAP, future demolition and disposal costs can also be part of the cost of an asset if they are based on a current obligation on the part of the purchaser and the obligation does not arise as a consequence of the use of the fixed assets for inventory production. At the time of capitalization, a liability must be recognized in the amount of the capitalized obligation. According to IFRS and US GAAP, financing costs are part of the acquisition costs if they are used directly to acquire an asset that takes a considerable period of time to get ready for its intended use.

Hotel and real estate

In the hotel and real estate sector, the acquisition of a property is also referred to as prime cost . These acquisition costs in the broader sense are detached from the purchase idea and include the value of the balance sheet stocks, which is also referred to in the literature as acquisition or procurement costs.


  • Adolf G. Coenenberg , u. a .: Annual financial statements and annual financial statements analysis: business, commercial, tax and international fundamentals; HGB, IAS / IFRS, US-GAAP, DRS . 22nd edition. Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag , Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-7910-3182-8 .
  • Michael Griga, Raymund Krauleidis : Creating and reading balance sheets for dummies , 2nd edition, Wiley-VCH Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3527705986
  • Gerhard Scherrer: Accounting according to the new HGB , 3rd edition, Verlag Franz Vahlen, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3800637874
  • Harald Wedell, Achim A. Dilling: Fundamentals of accounting: bookkeeping and annual accounts. Cost and performance accounting , 13th edition, NWB-Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3482547836

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Adolf Coenenberg, u. a .: Annual accounts and analysis of annual accounts , 21st edition, 2009, p. 95
  2. Johann Dahl: The activation of tangible assets in the trade and tax balance sheet. 2013, p. 47
  3. Willy Baier: Comments on the concept of tax production costs. In: Deutsche Steuer-Zeitung 1941, p. 149