Could someone explain to me the difference between 経費 and 出費? They're both translated as expenses, however they don't seem entirely interchangeable.

経費 seems to be used when talking about deductible expenses (taxes, your work etc...)
出費 seems to convey the idea of burden?

So when I'd like to say that the car is a huge expense; depending on the meaning, I could use both?

(I know that one is strictly a noun, whereas the other can be used with suru)

  • 1
    If you're able to read Japanese at a reasonable pace, it can often help if you check a monolingual dictionary for these kinds of questions. There seems to be a number of differences between the two definitions on デジタル大辞泉 for 経費 and 出費. Of the two the latter seems more of a generic word for "expense".
    – Shurim
    Dec 22, 2020 at 21:47
  • 1
    In addition to checking a monolingual dictionary, as @Shurim recommends, it can also be helpful to consider the meanings of the individual kanji that make up the compound. 経 refers to things passing, and the term 経費 has more of a sense of "regular, ongoing expenses". 出 refers to something going out, and 出費 has more of a sense of "an outlay" as a single instance of spending money. Dec 22, 2020 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


経費 refers to the money needed to properly run a business. It includes both fixed running costs (including labor cost) and one-time costs (like airfare for business trips or expenses for new server machines). 経費で落とす is a common set phrase that means "to have it paid by the company" or "to put it on the expense account". Taxes are taxes and not 経費. Read this article to see which type of expense is considered as justifiable 経費 by tax offices.

出費 refers to any event where your money goes out of your wallet or bank account, or the amount of such money. In particular, you have to use 出費 when you talk about your family finances (unless you're a business owner). Taxes are 出費, too.

These are both pure nouns. Neither works as a suru-verb.

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