What are assets 1
The asset is a tangible, tangible, measurable and tangible object or an intangible good (e.g. a software license, a right of use or a license / concession) to which a market price can be assigned or which can be traded. The asset plays an extraordinary role in the economic life of companies and private individuals.
In addition to the actual use of the asset, it has considerable economic effects: the sum of the valuations of the assets of a company or a private person is an additional creditworthiness or creditworthiness feature and enables a realistic representation of the financial situation.
Valuation problems with the assets
In the company's balance sheet, the assets are collected on the assets side and sorted according to their expected maturity. For example, merchandise or assets intended for resale are subsumed under current assets; Machines, equipment or real estate necessary for business operations are referred to as fixed assets.
The realistic valuation of the assets is a great challenge: machines and systems are subject to technical wear and tear, rust formation and the like can also limit the useful life. For this reason, machines and systems are written down from their original purchase price over their useful life. With the result that a realistic value is always shown and not the originally higher purchase or new value. In the case of current assets, only the pure construction costs may be taken into account, not a possible later market or individual sale price. This problem does not exist with private individuals, as they do not have to draw up a balance sheet or a statement of assets.
Assets and their distribution in the market economy discussion
In addition to the description of the total assets or the division into asset classes (also called asset classes), these also have a steering or steering function: In connection with the macroeconomic discussion or the decision about the fairest possible tax collection, two worlds clash again and again: While the political one in particular parties classified as left also demand taxation of assets, the majority prefers one-time taxation, for example of income from labor or capital, and no taxation of assets. Only an increase in assets (investment income) is subject to taxation, in Germany for example the reduced tax rate of 25% (plus solidarity surcharge and, if applicable, church tax).
The appropriate and correct distribution of assets is also one of the UN Millennium Development Goals and, in addition to the aspect of equal assets, is also considered from the perspective of gender equality or distributive justice.
In summary it can be said:
- Assets are tangible and intangible goods such as rights and licenses
- Assets are a proven indicator of the respective asset position or the prosperity of individuals or groups
- Unlike a domestic currency account, the challenge with assets is often how to find an appropriate valuation
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