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Last In, First Out (LIFO)

What is 'Last In, First Out - LIFO'

Last in, first out (LIFO) is an asset management and valuation method that assumes assets produced or acquired last are the ones used, sold or disposed of first; LIFO assumes an entity sells, uses or disposes of its newest inventory first. If an asset is sold for less than it is acquired, then the difference is considered a capital loss. If an asset is sold for more than it is acquired, the difference is considered a capital gain.

Explaining 'Last In, First Out - LIFO'

Using the LIFO method to evaluate and manage inventory can be tax advantageous, but it may also increase tax liability. The world of accounting is full of inventory management conventions used to help keep track of the cost and value of inventory. For this, accountants have developed two systems of inventory management: first in, first out (FIFO) and last in, first out (LIFO).

LIFO vs. FIFO

FIFO assumes the first inventory in is the first inventory sold. Grocery stores and retail outlets with perishable goods generally operate in this fashion to prevent obsolescence. LIFO is based on moving the last inventory in out first. In general, companies select the system most favorable to their tax and income situation.

LIFO vs. FIFO Example

Assume company A has 10 widgets. The first five widgets cost $100 each and arrived two days ago. The last five widgets cost $200 each and arrived one day ago. Based on the LIFO method of inventory management, the last widgets in are the first ones to be sold. Seven widgets are sold, but how much can the accountant record as a cost?


Further Reading


The Positive Outlook of the Last in First out Inventory Methods.
search.ebscohost.com [PDF]
… Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 472 allows for the Last in First Out method of inventory since its inception date in 1939 … First, the development of a financial crisis in Europe questioned whether accounting information really causes economic downturns …

The theoretical defenses of the last in first out inventory methodsThe theoretical defenses of the last in first out inventory methods
www.clutejournals.com [PDF]
… Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 472 allows for the Last in First Out method of inventory since its inception date in 1939 … First, the development of a financial crisis in Europe questioned whether accounting information really causes economic downturns …

The LIFO/FIFO choice: An asymmetric information approachThe LIFO/FIFO choice: An asymmetric information approach
www.jstor.org [PDF]
… Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 472 allows for the Last in First Out method of inventory since its inception date in 1939 … First, the development of a financial crisis in Europe questioned whether accounting information really causes economic downturns …

Managerial Opportunities Post the Last in First Out (LIFO) MethodsManagerial Opportunities Post the Last in First Out (LIFO) Methods
search.proquest.com [PDF]
… Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 472 allows for the Last in First Out method of inventory since its inception date in 1939 … First, the development of a financial crisis in Europe questioned whether accounting information really causes economic downturns …

The Positive Outlook Of The Last In First Out Inventory MethodsThe Positive Outlook Of The Last In First Out Inventory Methods
www.clutejournals.com [PDF]
… Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 472 allows for the Last in First Out method of inventory since its inception date in 1939 … First, the development of a financial crisis in Europe questioned whether accounting information really causes economic downturns …

Putting Every Student First: The State Constitutionality of Last-in, First-out Seniority Protections When Economic Layoffs Disproportionately Impact Poor and Minority …Putting Every Student First: The State Constitutionality of Last-in, First-out Seniority Protections When Economic Layoffs Disproportionately Impact Poor and Minority …
heinonline.org [PDF]
… Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 472 allows for the Last in First Out method of inventory since its inception date in 1939 … First, the development of a financial crisis in Europe questioned whether accounting information really causes economic downturns …