Sales Returns and Allowances

Sales Allowances contra revenue account records the value of reductions in selling price granted to buyers who agreed to accept a defective product instead of returning it to the seller. A sales allowance is defined as when a customer is allowed to keep a product without paying for it or without paying the full amount owed for the entire purchase price. As with a sales return, there could be many reasons for why a customer is given a sales allowance, such as the product being defective, the customer changing their mind, or the product being damaged. In each of these cases, the buyer is still allowed to keep the product, and they are not required to pay or continue paying for it. In other words, the buyer does not send the merchandise back to the seller but receives a reduction in the total amount that they have to pay the seller for the order.

  • This line item is presented as a subtraction from the gross sales line item, and is intended to reduce sales by the amount of product returns from customers and sales allowances granted.
  • When sales are returned by customers or an allowance is granted to them due to delayed delivery, breakage, or quality issues, an entry is made in the sales returns and allowances journal.
  • As with a sales return, there could be many reasons for why a customer is given a sales allowance, such as the product being defective, the customer changing their mind, or the product being damaged.
  • When this happens, it is important for businesses to keep track of sales returns so they can update their accounting records.
  • The customer contacts the store, and the store agrees to give the customer an allowance of $50.

Sales Discounts is a contra revenue account that records the value of price reductions granted to buyers in order to incentivize early payments. Examples include Net D cash discounts like 2/30 Net 60, where a full invoice payment is due in 60 days but a buyer will receive a 2% discount in case of an early settlement within 30 days. A company’s income statement shows the sales, expenses and profits for an accounting period. In the double-entry system of accounting, each financial transaction has at least one debit and one credit entry.


A contra revenue account that reports 1) merchandise returned by a customer, and 2) the allowances granted to a customer because the seller shipped improper or defective merchandise. This of course will reduce the seller’s accounts receivable and is subtracted from sales (along with sales discounts) to arrive at net sales. Sellers typically grant sales allowances to buyers when merchandise is damaged or defective, and the buyer is instructed to keep it.

They bought one on the spot for $250 with their credit card, but they were so caught up in the hysteria brought on by the product’s next-level spaceship design that they forgot they were allergic to eggs. Upon receiving the machine and realizing how outrageously impractical their impulse buy was, they sent it back.

The seller usually issues the customer a credit memorandum showing the amount of credit granted and the reason for the return. Your income statement might be the most relevant document to consider when gauging the health of your business, the efficacy of the sales strategies you’re employing, and the state of your company’s future. That’s why it’s vital to understand the items that come up on one, what they mean, and how to find and record them.

sales and returns allowances

When a customer returns a product, businesses will give them a refund and update their accounting records. This account is used to track all sales returns and allowances, which are then deducted from sales revenue on the company’s income statement. The second way businesses can handle returns and allowances is by recording them as a negative sale. This means that the return is recorded as a negative number directly into the sales revenue account. A customer buys a pair of jeans from a store for $50 and then returns them. The store will refund the customer $50 and will update their records to show a sales return of $50.

How to Define, Find, and Record Sales Returns & Allowances

This means that the refund will be recorded as a negative number in the sales revenue account, which will reduce the store’s net sales for this customer transaction to $0. As in the previous example, the store will need to be sure to update its inventory records to show that the product has been returned and is now available for sale again. A customer buys a product from a store for $75 and then discovers that the product is damaged. The customer contacts the store, and the store agrees to give the customer an allowance of $50. The store must update its records to show a sales return/allowance of $50.

sales and returns allowances

Recording sales returns and allowances in a separate contra‐revenue account allows management to monitor returns and allowances as a percentage of overall sales. High return levels may indicate the presence of serious but correctable problems. The first step in identifying such problems is to carefully monitor sales returns and allowances in a separate, contra‐revenue account. If Music World returns merchandise worth $100, Music Suppliers, Inc., prepares a credit memorandum to account for the return.

Presentation of Sales Returns and Allowances

The product was not defective and can be resold, so it will be returned to inventory. Thus, a journal entry will also need to be made to account for the items returning to inventory and cost of goods sold. This includes recording a debit in the inventory account as well as recording a credit in the cost of goods sold (COGS) account. Credit memos serve as vouchers for entries in the sales returns and allowances journal.

Sales returns and allowances are refunds or credits given to customers for returned products or products that they are allowed to keep without full payment. Sales returns and allowances are deducted from sales revenue when net sales are calculated. For example, if a company had sales revenue of $12,000 and sales returns and allowances of $3,500, its net sales would be $8,500 ($12,000 – $3,500). Using a sales returns and allowances account helps a business track its returns, leading to the identification of problem products more quickly.

Sales allowances occur when customers agree to keep such merchandise in return for a reduction in the selling price. This line item is the aggregation of two general ledger accounts, which are the sales returns account and the sales allowances account. Both of these accounts are contra accounts, which means that they offset gross sales. The natural balance in these accounts is a debit, which is the reverse of the natural credit balance in the gross sales account. In some cases, companies might not include sales returns and allowances as a separate account.

This will help them to avoid any errors in their financial statements and records. A contra-revenue account is a liability from revenue which helps in determining whether to omit certain sales transactions, which would otherwise be mistaken as revenue. It is usually included if there are any sales returns and allowances or other type of return not recorded in the sales journal.

Most companies allow consumers to return a product if it is found to be defective. Oftentimes a customer may agree to keep a defective product if a partial refund is applied to the price paid. Alternatively, a customer may decide to return an unsatisfactory product. Overshooting in sales is caused due to overstating of sales returns and allowances. Since the ledger accounts are closed to the General Ledger, this account balance indicates that there are no more invoices in which credits have not been posted. The credit part of this entry involves both a controlling account (accounts receivable) in the general ledger and a customer’s account (Champ’s TV Sales) in the accounts receivable subsidiary ledger.

In this case, because there was no return of the product, the store will not need to update its inventory records. To illustrate, suppose that Lakeside Electronics issued the credit memorandum shown in the figure below to Champ’s TV Sales for the return of a defective 19-inch TV. The net Revenue balance on an income statement is calculated as gross Revenue minus all contra-revenue items like Sales Returns, Allowances and Discounts. When the above entry was posted to the accounts receivable ledger, a small checkmark was made to the right of the diagonal line. The opposite of the revenue contra accounts Sales Discounts, Returns and Allowances are expense contra accounts Purchase Discounts, Returns and Allowances.

What Is the Difference Between a Sales Return & a Sales Allowance?

A sales return occurs when a buyer sends a product back to a seller for a partial or full refund. An allowance is a retroactive discount a customer receives when they contact a company about a minor but noticeable defect with its product. Both are subtracted from a company’s gross sales to calculate net sales. Sales returns and allowances account for one of the most important categories you’ll find on an income statement. They’re integral in tracking the quality of your product, consumers’ satisfaction with your business, and the profitability of your sales efforts. They are a reduction of sales revenue and are therefore deducted from sales revenue when calculating net sales.

sales and returns allowances

Understanding your sales returns and allowances and how to find them rests on your understanding of a couple of terms. The first term is debit, meaning an addition to an expense or asset account or a decrease to a liability or equity account. In the context of returns and allowances, it means expanding your returns and allowances account. This is because the initial accounting journal entry at the time of sale was a debit to Accounts Receivable asset account and credit to a Sales Revenue account. A return occurs when a buyer returns part or all of the merchandise they purchased back to the seller. An allowance occurs when a buyer decides to keep damaged or defective goods but at a reduction from the original price.

To reverse the return’s related revenue, you have to debit your sales returns and allowances account by the amount of revenue generated by the original sale. Then, you have to credit your accounts receivable or cash account by the same figure. A contra sales revenue account–such as Sales Allowances, Returns and Discounts-has a debit balance because it is contrary to the credit balance of a regular Sales Revenue account.

The store will also need to update its inventory records to reflect the return of the product. Thus, the store will debit inventory for $150 and credit COGS for $150. The two accounts may sometimes be combined into a single account in the general ledger. This typically happens when the balances in these accounts are relatively small, so there is no point in tracking returns and allowances separately. In other words, contra sales revenue is the difference between gross revenue and net revenue.