Tuesday, May 18, 2010

April meeting results

The FASB & IASB met again in mid-April for multiple meetings regarding the new lease accounting standard (originally supposed to be a joint meeting in London, the Icelandic volcano forced it to be a videoconference). Lessee topics included sale/leaseback transactions and rent presentation; subleasing was also discussed. Topics for lessors included: performance obligation amortization, impairment, purchase options, and disclosure requirements. Long-term leases of land affect both lessees and lessors.

Sale and leaseback transactions

Under current US GAAP, a sale and leaseback is recognized as such only if it meets criteria specified in FAS 98, which particularly prohibit “continuing involvement” by the seller-lessee in the property other than the leaseback itself. If there is continuing involvement, such as a fixed-price purchase option, nonrecourse financing, or a guaranteed residual, sale/leaseback accounting is prohibited and the transaction must be accounted for as a financing, with the asset remaining on the “seller’s” books.

The boards have decided to tie the definition of a qualifying transaction to their previous decision to account for a lease as a sale of the underlying asset. The relevant definition is “if at the end of the contract control of the underlying asset has been transferred and all but a trivial amount of the risks and benefits associated with the underlying asset have been transferred.” The interesting thing about use of this definition is that in this case, it’s being used to define the sale portion of the transaction, not the lease portion. The impact of the decision should be minimal; that is, generally transactions will get the same treatment (as far as whether they’re treated as sale/leaseback or as financing) under the new standard as the old, but it makes sense to use more consistent definitions within the new standard.

Lessee presentation of total cash rentals paid

Currently, cash rent paid under operating leases is a line item in the income statement; it is not, however, an income statement for capital leases (since the expenses recognized are interest and depreciation). The new standard includes a disclosure with a reconciliation of obligation to pay rentals, along with reporting interest and obligation repayments (separately) in the statement of cash flows; no separate presentation of total rent paid is to be included.


As one might expect, a sublease is treated like a lessor lease by the intermediate party. Assets and liabilities for subleases will be reported gross with a net subtotal, separate from the assets and liabilities related to the head lease (the original lease of the asset that is being subleased).

Long-term leases of land

There had been some discussion of possibly treating long-term leases of land as sales (in some countries, land leases of 99 or even 999 years are common due to cultural or legal barriers to actual transfer of land ownership). The boards decided not to go that route; long-term land leases will be treated like any other lease within the new standard.

Lessor performance obligation amortization

Amortization should be in a systematic and rational manner based on the pattern of use of the underlying asset. This could be passage of time, hours of use or items produced for equipment, etc.

The boards have not decided whether or how to permit revenue recognition at the start of a lease (similar to current sales-type lessor lease accounting), and asked the staff to further analyze the issue.

Lessor accounting for purchase options

Purchase options are to be accounted for the same way as renewal and termination options, using the “more likely than not” criterion for exercise.

Lessor accounting for impairment of assets

The receivable is to be reviewed first for impairment, with an adjustment to both the receivable and the performance obligation and any difference being recorded in profit or loss. The underlying asset is also subject to impairment review; the staffs are to further consider how to apply IFRS 36 and ASC Topic 360, each board’s impairment standard.

Lessor disclosures


The nature of the lease arrangement(s), if leasing is a significant part of the lessor’s business activities
Restrictions placed on leased assets by the leases
Existence and terms of any residual value guarantees
Under IFRS: Information on risks surrounding the receivable (cf. IFRS 7)
Under US GAAP: Information on credit quality, the uncertainty of future cash flows, and how the lessor manages those uncertainties
Notation if simplified short-term lease accounting is being used


Maturity analysis, by year for five years and future years as a lump sum, showing the minimum contractual receivables and total estimated receivable
Maturity analysis, by year for three years and future years as a lump sum, of the satisfaction of performance obligations
Reconciliation between opening and closing balances for the receivable and performance obligation, showing the transactions resulting in increases and decreases
If simplified short-term accounting is being used, the gross amount so recognized

The FASB meeting notes indicate that the boards now anticipate a release of the exposure draft in August 2010, rather than the previously planned June. Obviously there’s too much yet to be completed.

This week (May 18 & 19), the boards have scheduled over 7 hours of meeting time to discuss a lessor’s accounting for the performance obligation and the alternative approach of derecognition (i.e., rather than keeping the leased asset on the books and setting up a performance obligation, the lessor would reduce reported owned assets by the amount of the lease receivable).


  1. 0ear Sir:

    Can I record as a sales type lease as lessor a rent received in lump sum in advance for 55 years. (The lease is normally for 5 years).
    The lump sum rent is equal to the FV market and less than the PV of the MLP.
    The problem is that in the agreement the asset ( land) is not transferred upon the lump sum
    received. However can I record in my books the lump sum payment as gross income in the income statement or I have to prorate the gross receipt upon the life of the lease? In my books I will reflect the gross receipt as revenue and the cost of land as a reduction in the asset account.
    Per Fasb 13 will the lease qualify as a capital lease under one of the four conditions established?

    Thanks for your reply.

    Angel Torres

  2. In my previous blog I forgot to mention the the lessee is in the industry of telecommunication equipments, so the real value here is not the land but the right to use the space to build their antenna.

    Angel Torres

  3. A lease of land is capital only if ownership is transferred as part of the lease agreement or there is a bargain purchase option (the bargain being sufficient that exercise of the option, as viewed at lease inception, is reasonably assured). Therefore, your lease would be considered operating, and the revenue would be recognized on a straight-line basis over the life of the lease.