Deal Pack Blog

Accounting for Operating Leases: Part 4- Accounting for Lease Repossession

It’s clear that leasing is growing as a business in the Buy Here-Pay Here (BHPH) industry, and with dealers jumping into leasing for the first time, it is essential to understand how to account for leasing activities on the books. With operating leases, lessees are contracted to use the asset, but the rights to the ownership of the vehicle remain with the dealership. Accounting for operating leases is commonly termed as “off balance sheet financing”. This is because operating leases do not result in any assets or liabilities recorded on the dealerships balance sheet.


As a result of this “off balance sheet financing”, the net effect on the income statement of the repossession of leased vehicle is drastically superior to that of an installment loan. Let’s look at a simplified example.


There’s an installment loan with a current principal balance of $10,000. The vehicle is repossessed, and valued at $2,000 (actual cash value or ACV). Assuming there is no outstanding fees or accumulated interest, $8,000 would be booked as a repossession loss at the time of repossession ($10,000 – $2,000). The entry would present as follows:


G/L Account Debit Credit
Repossession (Gains)/Losses 8,000
Unit Inventory 2,000
Accounts Receivable 10,000


Using the same example for a lease, we can see that the income statement effect is much more favorable. With operating leases, the ‘contra asset’ account of unearned lease payments servers as a cushion against the removal of the receivable. Assuming there are no outstanding fees or adjusted depreciation expense, $0.00 would be booked as a repossession loss at the time of repossession. The only expense up to the point of repossession would be the amount recorded as depreciation. Assuming that the adjusted value of the leased unit is now at $6,000, the entry would present as follows:


G/L Account Debit Credit
Unearned Lease Payments 10,000
Accounts Receivable 10,000
Inventory 6,000
Leased Inventory 6,000


The Deal Pack advantage is that you don’t have to worry about making any of these entries yourself! With Deal Pack Pro, accounting entries are made automatically and in real time, allowing you to present your financials at the click of a button!

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