Interest Expense


The financial accounting term interest expense is used to describe the interest payments that have come due on amounts borrowed by a company or an individual.  Interest expense will appear as a line item on a company's income statement.


A simple calculation for interest expense is as follows:

Interest Expense = Return on Debt x Debt Outstanding


Also known as interest payable, interest expense is the result of a company issuing securities such as bonds, and other debt instruments, which provide the holder of the security with a predetermined payment schedule of interest income. 

Interest expense is an important tax shelter, or shield, for both companies and individuals since it's often allowed as a tax deduction when computing federal income tax liability.

In addition to the repayment of a loan's principal, individuals will make payments that account for the interest charged on a loan or mortgage.  That's why interest expense is sometimes referred to as the cost of borrowing.

Related Terms

income statement, interest rate, tax shelter