The disposal of assets or securities through assignment, sale, or another transfer method

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What is a Disposition?

A disposition refers to the disposal of assets or securities through assignment, sale, or another transfer method. It is simply the transfer of an asset’s ownership, where the asset is either given away or sold.


Dispositions involving an assignment and/or transfer can also be completed for accounting and tax purposes to get relief from any associated taxes or any other liability. It can also refer to the disposal of an asset held as a security against a loan.

Disposition occurs in many ways. For example, the sale of stocks or bonds in the exchange market by an investor is called the disposition of stocks. A company reports the insider trades as a disposition of shares to executives and the board of directors. When banks review the loans and sell the collateral in the event of default by the borrowers, it is called the disposition of loan assets. Certain types of donations to trusts or charities can also be referred to as a disposition.


  • Disposition refers to the disposal of assets through a sale, assignment, or transfer where the ownership of the asset is transferred.
  • The sale of shares in the exchange market, insider trades reported in a company’s records, the sale of loan collateral by banks, and donations are other forms of disposition.
  • When a company sells an asset by any method of disposition, the related balance needs to be removed from the company books.

Disposition Example

Suppose an investor owns some stocks in a particular company. Recently, the company’s not been performing well. If the investor decides to move out of the investment, he/she will sell his/her shares on the exchange market via a broker. Thus, the investor disposes of his/her investment in the company.

Recording a Disposition

When companies decide to discard their assets through an exchange or sale, it is referred to as a disposition. It may also occur when companies need to end the life of damaged or stolen assets involuntarily. However, regardless of the method of disposition, the accounts related to the discarded assets should be removed from the company records.

As an asset’s book value is rarely the same as its market value, companies experience either a loss or gain on an asset’s sale or disposal.

For example, suppose Company X decides to sell its equipment Z for $75,000. The original cost of the equipment was $100,000, with the asset being depreciated over three years. The accumulated depreciation on the equipment was $50,000. The profit or loss on the disposition of the equipment will be calculated as below:

Cost of Equipment Z = $100,000

Accumulated Depreciation = $50,000

Net Book Value = $100,000 – $50,000 = $50,000

Proceeds from Sale = $75,000

Gain from the Disposition of Equipment Z = $75,000 – $50,000 = $25,000

The equipment needs to be removed from the company’s records. To do it, $75,000 cash will be debited, the equipment account of $100,000 will be credited, the accumulated depreciation of $50,000 will be debited, and a gain on disposition of $25,000 will be credited. The journal entries will be reflected in the period in which the agreement was made.

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