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Long-Term Liabilities: Prepare Journal Entries to Reflect the Life Cycle of Bonds Saylor Academy


Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.

  • Municipal bonds are a specific type of bonds that are issued by governmental entities such as towns and school districts.
  • It looks like the issuer will have to pay back $104,460, but this is not quite true.
  • A balance sheet presents a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity at a given date in time.
  • Interest is an expense that you might pay for the use of someone else’s money.

A liability is something a person or company owes, usually a sum of money. Liabilities are settled over time through the transfer of economic benefits including money, goods, or services. Long-term liabilities can help finance the expansion of a company’s operations or buy new equipment or property.

How confident are you in your long term financial plan?

The combination of the last two bullet points is the amount of the company’s net income. Liabilities refer to things that you owe or have borrowed; assets are things that you own or are owed. Please include what you were doing when this page came up and the Cloudflare Ray ID found at the bottom of this page.

  • Companies will segregate their liabilities by their time horizon for when they are due.
  • Liabilities must be reported according to the accepted accounting principles.
  • Running a business can be challenging and some of the main issues are the amount of jargon you need to understand and administrative work that drains your productivity.
  • Long-term debt can be covered by various activities such as a company’s primary business net income, future investment income, or cash from new debt agreements.

However, this type of financing is often more expensive than other forms of debt, such as short-term loans. These are commonly referred to as current liabilities and are due within one year. Some of the most common include rent, accounts payable, and payroll expenses. A percentage of the sale is charged to the customer to cover the tax obligation (see Figure 12.5). The sales tax rate varies by state and local municipalities but can range anywhere from 1.76% to almost 10% of the gross sales price. Some states do not have sales tax because they want to encourage consumer spending.

Define Liability in Simple Terms

There are other possibilities that can be much more complicated and beyond the scope of this course. For example, a bond might be callable by the issuing company, in which the company may pay a call premium paid to the current owner of the bond. Also, a bond might be called while there is still a premium or discount on the bond, and that can complicate the retirement process. Typically, bonds require the issuer to pay interest semi-annually (every six months) and the principal amount is to be repaid on the date that the bonds mature. It is common for bonds to mature (come due) years after the bonds were issued. Long-term liabilities are obligations that are not due for payment for at least one year.

What Is a Liability?

Referring again to the AT&T example, there are more items than your garden variety company that may list one or two items. Long-term debt, also known as bonds payable, is usually the largest liability and at the top of the list. It’s important to note that there are several types of long-term liabilities. Bonds get issued by a company in order to raise capital and are typically repaid over a period of years.

Interest payable can also be a current liability if accrual of interest occurs during the operating period but has yet to be paid. Interest accrued is recorded in Interest Payable (a credit) and Interest Expense (a debit). This method assumes a twelve-month denominator in the calculation, which means that we are using the calculation method based on a 360-day year.

Bonds payable

Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. Income taxes are required to be withheld from an employee’s salary for payment to a federal, state, or local authority (hence they are known as withholding public disclosures protect investors taxes). Income taxes are discussed in greater detail in Record Transactions Incurred in Preparing Payroll. When you leave a comment on this article, please note that if approved, it will be publicly available and visible at the bottom of the article on this blog.

On the other hand, amounts that represent a company’s financial obligations and debt are recorded as liabilities. A liability is an obligation of a company that results in the company’s future sacrifices of economic benefits to other entities or businesses. A liability, like debt, can be an alternative to equity as a source of a company’s financing. Moreover, some liabilities, such as accounts payable or income taxes payable, are essential parts of day-to-day business operations.

Read on as we take a closer look at everything to do with these types of liabilities, such as how you calculate them, how they’re used, and give you some examples. Companies disclose all the Non-Current Liabilities they owe and their values on the Balance Sheet. The one year mark is measured as 12 months from the date of the Balance Sheet.

In general, a liability is an obligation between one party and another not yet completed or paid for. Current liabilities are usually considered short-term (expected to be concluded in 12 months or less) and non-current liabilities are long-term (12 months or greater). Long-term liabilities refer to a company’s non current financial obligations. On a balance sheet, a current portion of any long-term debt is listed in the current liabilities section.

This journal entry will be made every year for the 5-year life of the bond. The premium on a bonds payable account is a contra liability account. It is contra because it increases the amount of the Bonds Payable liability account. The Premium will disappear over time as it is amortized, but it will decrease the interest expense, which we will see in subsequent journal entries.

What Is a Contingent Liability?

On the date that the bonds were issued, the company received cash of $104,460.00 but agreed to pay $100,000.00 in the future for 100 bonds with a $1,000 face value. The difference in the amount received and the amount owed is called the premium. Since they promised to pay 5% while similar bonds earn 4%, the company received more cash up front. They did this because the cost of the premium plus the 5% interest on the face value is mathematically the same as receiving the face value but paying 4% interest. The amount results from the timing of when the depreciation expense is reported. Companies will segregate their liabilities by their time horizon for when they are due.

Examples of Long-term Liabilities

However, there are many types of long-term liabilities, and various types have specific measurement and reporting criteria that may differ between the two sets of accounting standards. With two exceptions, bonds payable are primarily the same under the two sets of standards. It is important to realize that the amount of retained earnings will not be in the corporation’s bank accounts. The reason is that corporations will likely use the cash generated from its earnings to purchase productive assets, reduce debt, purchase shares of its common stock from existing stockholders, etc. The final liability appearing on a company’s balance sheet is commitments and contingencies along with a reference to the notes to the financial statements.