• +61 0428247791
  • Hello@digitallydiv.com.au
  • Melbourne, Australia
Digital Marketing
Is a website an asset or expense ?- The Real Facts

Is a website an asset or expense ?- The Real Facts

Is a website an asset or expense ?

Generally, the development of a website should be considered an asset to be amortized over its useful life. However, for tax purposes, most companies choose to expense the costs in the year funds are expended. 

This approach legally served to reduce the profits of the company and thus exposure to tax. While this strategy is generally not used in publicly-traded companies, it is typical for smaller, privately-held companies.

Is Website Design a Capital Expense or Revenue Expense?

The Internal Revenue Service and Software Costs

Although the IRS has not issued specific guidance on website costs, it has provided guidance on software costs. 

If a business hires a third party to design, develop, create, and programme the website, you will treat the costs as if they were for computer software. 

If the website is created in-house, the costs may be deducted in the year they are incurred, accrued, or amortised and treated like computer software, depending on the accounting method used.

A Quick Navigation

New website and enhanced functionality

Capital expenditures include the development of a completely new website or the addition of significant new functionality to an existing website. Generally, the cost of creating, designing, developing, and programming a website is considered a capital asset. 

Additionally, this is the time for the business to acquire all necessary hardware to support the website. These acquisitions will be capitalised in accordance with existing policies, will be recorded on the balance sheet, and will be amortised.

Additional enhancements should also be capitalised as new software, as they add functionality or are a product enhancement to externally marketed software. These costs may also include the cost of upgrading the website to add new features, such as adding pages, enabling sales, or enabling payment.

Expenses for improvements and maintenance

In contrast, changes to an existing website that update content or improve ease of use, but do not add functionality, are considered ongoing expenses or are expensed when they are spent. 

As a result, they are classified as a revenue expense, comparable to the ongoing maintenance and repairs required for a physical asset such as a building.

Updating web pages, resolving minor style or formatting problems, fixing bugs or broken links, and making formatting changes such as font size, type, and colour changes are all examples of maintenance-type expenses.

It may be necessary to bill internal costs for small improvements and enhancements as maintenance costs if they are unable to be fairly separated. Additionally, you should account for the cost of building new links, registering with search engines, measuring traffic, hosting your website, and performing routine backups, in addition to training and website maintenance.

Like any tax concern, you should talk with your tax expert and give him or her with all relevant facts and circumstances so that the proper treatment may be decided.

Is your website a long-term investment?

Consequently, is it possible to treat your website as a fixed asset? In the majority of circumstances, you very likely can. If your website is strictly a brochure site that offers information about your company and what you do but does not include any calls to action, lead generation tools, or ecommerce capabilities, that would be the only genuine exception.

In actuality, though, websites like these are becoming increasingly rare as digital marketing becomes increasingly crucial across all businesses.

As a result, if you anticipate that your website will assist you in directly generating income over the next several years, you can treat it as a fixed asset and deduct the cost of construction from your income statement.

In other words, if you expect your company to profit financially from a website over a period of several years, you can stretch the expense of constructing that website over the same amount of time as the expected financial return.

In what ways does treating your website as a fixed asset benefit you?


Treating your website as if it were a fixed asset helps to improve the balance sheet of your company. It also implies that you will not be required to deduct the cost of developing the website from your profits for the first year.

Of course, this isn’t something that everyone is interested in doing. When it comes to website development, for example, there will be instances where it makes more sense to include the cost of the website in your profit and loss statement. That is a judgement that only you and your accountant can make based on your own circumstances.

The main thing to remember is that you have a variety of options dependent on the long-term usefulness of the website to your organisation.

Is your website an asset or a liability?

It is quickly becoming the primary means of communication between nonprofit organisations and their members, beneficiaries, donors, and other stakeholders, thanks to the widespread availability of websites. 

In order to register members, accept contributions and submit grant applications, nonprofits must use a website to convey information about their activities. These applications are becoming increasingly popular, prompting many NGOs to re-evaluate their websites. 

A growing number of NGOs are discovering that off-the-shelf software packages acquired five years ago are no longer adequate, and they are determining if their websites require improvements or total replacements. It is expensive to redesign a website, and it can have a big influence on the financial accounts of a charitable organisation. 

The particular impact will vary depending on the nature and breadth of the modifications being implemented. Expenses are incurred when improvements to a current website are made to update content or improve convenience of use, but not when functionality is added. 

They are analogous to ongoing repairs and maintenance for a physical asset, such as a building, in that they are ongoing. An evaluation of the costs associated with developing a whole new website or the inclusion of major new features is required at various phases of the development process. 

Some of these costs will be capitalised and amortised over time, while others will be expensed as they are incurred, depending on the circumstances.

The following are the stages of website development:

  1. Making plans for the website
  2. Creating the applications and underlying infrastructure
  3. Creating visual representations
  4. Taking care of the site

Is a website classified as a fixed asset?

Websites are typically divided into two types: informational and entertainment.

Websites that provide general information about a company, what it does, and who works there; or websites that sell things on the internet.

Websites that provide general information


Websites that provide general information about a company are not considered fixed assets under the IRS definition.

This is due to the fact that they do not immediately contribute to the generation of revenue. Rather, they are employed as a sort of marketing to attract new customers.

Therefore, the website’s expenses must be deducted in full as soon as the website is paid for and no later than that.

Websites that provide products or services for sale


Websites that provide products and services in order to create revenue for a business are classified as fixed assets.

A website such as Ted Baker, which allows you to purchase clothing, would be considered a fixed asset.

In contrast, a website for an accounting business that provides information about the firm and its services would not be considered a fixed asset.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *