An obligation that legally binds an individual or a company. When one is liable for a debt, you are responsible for paying that debt.

For example, if John hits Jane’s car, John is liable for the damages to Jane’s vehicle because John is responsible for the damages. In the case of a company, a liability is recorded on the balance sheet and can include accounts payable, taxes, wages, accrued expenses, and deferred revenues. Current liabilities are debts payable within one year, while long-term liabilities are debts payable over a longer period.