Accounting for Purchase Returns Entry, Example, and More

what is a purchase return

The general ledger may occasionally be comprised of a combination of the two accounts wherein they are aggregated into one. It usually occurs in the case that the balances in these accounts are not very substantive, thus eliminating the need for tracking returns and allowances separately. In returns and allowances accounting, this line item is presented as a subtraction from the gross sales line item. It is used to decrease sales by the number of product returns from customers and sales allowances granted. The debit to accounts payable reduces the purchases on the income statement in line with the contents of the purchase returns and allowances account.

what is a purchase return

You can also lay out a return time frame in your payment terms and conditions. A purchase return is usually authorized under a return merchandise authorization (RMA) that is issued to the buyer by the seller. Purchases Returns would have been credited (since it is a company expense decrease). On the other hand, it was also a probable expense that was likely to be incurred due to paying back for the goods and services the company had purchased. Hence, the overall value of the goods that are recorded is essentially deducted from the purchases that have been made.

The Debit Balance will then offset this credit balance in the Purchase Account. If a customer made a cash purchase, decrease the Cash account with a credit. A purchase return, or sales return, is when a customer brings back a product they bought from a business, either for a refund or exchange.

What is a purchase return?

Purchase returns and allowances do not appear on the balance sheet as they are not liabilities. Instead, they must be recorded in a type of account known as a contra revenue account. The purchases returns and allowances account is a contra account to purchases since it reduces purchases by the number of returns and allowances. Allowances are described as reductions in price granted by the seller when a merchant decides to keep unsatisfactory merchandise rather than return it. The supplier records the credit memo with a debit to Sales Allowances and a credit to Accounts Receivable. Purchases will normally have a debit balance since it represents additions to the inventory, an asset.

Purchase returns and allowances is an account that is paired with and offsets the purchases account in a periodic inventory system. The account contains deductions from purchases for items returned to suppliers, as well as deductions allowed by suppliers for goods that are not returned. This contra account reduces the total how to prepare a trial balance in 5 steps amount of purchases made, which therefore also reduces the ending inventory balance. When new shipments of bikes arrive from his suppliers, Bill examines each one in detail because he knows they don’t always get his orders right. Sometimes they send the wrong items, other times goods may be defective or damaged.

what is a purchase return

Double Entry Bookkeeping is here to provide you with free online information to help you learn and understand bookkeeping and introductory accounting. The net purchases item is what will be used when calculating the cost of goods sold at the end of the period. Purchase Returns or return outwards can be seen as a process where goods are returned to the supplier because of being defected or damaged. The treatment mentioned above is mainly for the scenario where the purchase had been made on credit.

It seems they were supposed to go to Jill’s Sporting Goods instead of Bill’s Bikes! The journal entry to record this transaction is to Debit Payables, and Credit Purchase Returns. Because you are not immediately paying the customer, you must increase the amount you owe through an Accounts Payable entry. In most cases, the customer receives a refund when they physically return the good.

Purchase Return Bookkeeping Entries Explained

He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

In purchase returns, a customer purchases a defective product and returns it to the seller for a full or partial refund. The transaction is then recorded in the contra revenue account. After a purchase return has been effected, the transaction is recorded in the contra revenue account under the contra expenses. There are several examples of purchase returns and allowances in daily business. For example, Star Sporting Goods received a shipment of 100 baseballs, but five were found to be defective. The store manager decided to keep the defective ones and sell them at a discount since he could get a price reduction from the supplier.

  1. This is because Payables were initially a liability the business incurred against purchasing certain goods and services.
  2. In contrast, a purchase allowance can be described as the reduction in price granted by the seller when a merchant decides to keep unsatisfactory merchandise rather than return it.
  3. Hence, the overall value of the goods that are recorded is essentially deducted from the purchases that have been made.
  4. A purchase return, or sales return, is when a customer brings back a product they bought from a business, either for a refund or exchange.
  5. Purchases returns and allowances is a contra account to purchases.

The contra account purchases returns and allowances will have a credit balance to offset it. Bill uses the purchases returns and allowances account because he likes to keep tabs on the amount as a percentage of purchases. He also needs to debit accounts payable to reduce the amount owed the supplier by the amount that was returned. Line item accounting can be defined as an accounting procedure or activity that divides each bracket of income and expenses into disparate sections, or lines, on a balance sheet.

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Contra expenses, by default, can never have a debit balance, which means that the balance can either be zero or credit. Additionally, the debit balance will eliminate the need for reconciliation in the purchase account. The main purpose of the accounting concept for purchase returns is to make it look like there was never a purchase in the first place. It eliminates the purchase trail and the purchase accounting in the debit to smoothen out the transaction. Once you get the hang of which accounts to increase and decrease, you can record purchase returns and allowances in your books.

Reverse the original journal entry by crediting your Accounts Receivable account. Although you don’t lose physical cash, you lose the amount you were going to receive. How you handle purchase returns depends on your small business return policy. You might offer free returns, charge a restocking fee, accept returns only with a receipt, or not accept returns at all. Or, maybe you decide to compensate customers returning items with store credit. The purchase returns account will always have a credit balance.

And, credit your Cost of Goods Sold account to reflect the decrease in your cost of goods sold. The Sales Returns and Allowances account is a contra revenue account, meaning it opposes the revenue account from the initial purchase. You must debit the Sales Returns and Allowances account to show a decrease in revenue. The debit of $1,000 in the Purchases account and the credit of $200 in the Purchases Returns will mean that for this transaction the company had net purchases of $800. The main reason for not deducting it directly from purchases is to keep the accounting records properly maintained for auditing and internal controls. Debits and credits are equal and opposite, so when you increase an account using a debit, you must decrease another with a credit.

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