The basic considerations in distinction between capital and revenue expenditures are:
(a) Nature of business: For a trader dealing in furniture, purchase of furniture is revenue expenditure but for any other trade, the purchase of furniture should be treated as capital expenditure and shown in the balance sheet as asset. Therefore, the nature of business is a very important criteria in separating an expenditure between capital and revenue.
(b) Recurring nature of expenditure: If the frequency of an expense is quite often in an accounting year then it is said to be an expenditure of revenue nature while non-recurring expenditure is infrequent in nature and do not occur often in an accounting year. Monthly salary or rent is the example of revenue expenditure as they are incurred every month while purchase of assets is not the transaction done regularly therefore, classified as capital expenditure unless materiality criteria defines it as revenue expenditure.
(c) Purpose of expenses: Expenses for repairs of machine may be incurred in course of normal maintenance of the asset. Such expenses are revenue in nature. On the other hand, expenditure incurred for major repair of the asset so as to increase its productive capacity is capital in nature. However, determination of the cost of maintenance and ordinary repairs which should be expensed, as opposed to a cost which ought to be capitalised, is not always simple.
(d) Effect on revenue generating capacity of business: The expenses which help to generate income/ revenue in the current period are revenue in nature and should be matched against the revenue earned in the current period. On the other hand, if expenditure helps to generate revenue over more than one accounting period, it is generally called capital expenditure.
When expenditure on improvements and repair of a fixed asset is done, it has to be charged to Profit and Loss Account if the expected future benefits from fixed assets do not change, and it will be included in book value of fixed asset, where the expected future benefits from assets increase.
(e) Materiality of the amount involved: Relative proportion of the amount involved is another important consideration in distinction between revenue and capital.