Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Second Exposure Draft coming

I need to catch up on the boards' activity over the last two months. I've taken a summer hiatus, but they didn't...

The most important news is that at the July 21 meeting, the boards unanimously decided to release a second Exposure Draft. The changes to the proposed standard from the original Exposure Draft are so significant that they felt it important to get feedback from interested parties. Some decisions remain to be made before the new Draft can be released; they expect to complete those deliberations during Q3, with a new Draft released soon after. The wording seems to suggest that the Draft would come out in early October.

Additional decisions reached this month:

Lessor Accounting

The performance obligation model has been scrapped. All leases (except for short-term leases) will be accounted for using a "receivable and residual" model, which is essentially the same as the "derecognition approach" described in the Exposure Draft. Main points of this model:

* The lessor recognizes a right to receive lease payments (matching the lessee's obligation to make payments) and a residual asset.

* The discount rate to present value the payments is the "rate the lessor charges the lessee" (the internal rate of return, based on the asset's value).

* The residual asset accretes (increases using the interest method, same interest rate) over the lease's life.

* If the asset's carrying amount is lower than the lease's value, a profit (on the portion of the asset represented by the lease receivable) can be recognized at commencement of the lease if reasonably assured.

Short-term leases, defined as those with a maximum term of 12 months or less, will be accounted for as operating leases (no balance sheet effect, just income recognized over the lease term on a systematic basis, usually level). This will protect against needing to do convoluted accounting for things like rental cars and hotel rooms.

Operating lease accounting will also be permitted for leases of investment property measured at fair value. This is currently only available under IFRS (IAS 40). But the FASB is working on a proposed investment property standard which would be similar, with an Exposure Draft scheduled for Q3 2011.

Contingent Rents Dependent on an Index or Rate

While other contingent rents are excluded from the capitalized calculation of leases, those that depend on an index or rate have to be included. An example would be a lease whose rent is based on CPI or LIBOR. Such leases are to be initially measured based on the index/rate at the commencement of the lease, then recalculated at the end of each reporting period using the new index/rate. The change is booked to net income if it applies to the current reporting period, or as an adjustment to the right-to-use asset (for a lessee) for adjustments that relate to future periods. Lessors would recognize an adjustment in the receivable in profit or loss.

This is a potentially significant cause of recalculations on leases; many real estate leases have CPI escalators that adjust every year. The boards decided that the benefit of more accurate presentation of actual rents due outweighs the effort required.

Lessee disclosures

The boards approved a lengthy set of disclosures for lessees:

* Reconciliation of opening & closing balance of right-to-use assets, disaggregated by class of underlying asset
* Reconciliation of opening & closing balance of lease liabilities (no disaggregation required)
* Future rent commitments, similarly to current FAS 13 requirements (by year for five years, then all remaining, then subtracting interest to reconcile to the liability balance). Note that this is different from current IFRS requirements. Preparers would have the option to disclose by year for more than 5 years, if that would provide better information.
* Information about leases signed but not yet started if they create "significant" rights and obligations
* Information about contingent rentals and options
* A table of expenses: amortization, interest, variable payments, and short-term rents, plus a breakdown of principal and interest paid
* Information regarding any expected material changes in short-term rentals

However, they explicitly are not requiring disclosure of discount rates, fair value of liabilities, purchase options, or initial direct costs.

They also explicitly forbid combining interest and amortization expenses and presenting the total as lease or rent expense.

The boards split over whether or not to disclose future commitments for services and other non-lease components; the FASB wants such disclosure (which is already required by the SEC in the unaudited portion of the financial statements), while IASB does not. Presumably this will be reconciled at a later date (perhaps after the Exposure Draft is released and reviewed).

Lessee primary financial statements presentation

Lease right-of-use asssets and liabilities either must be presented separately in the Statement of Financial Position (balance sheet), or shown separately in footnote disclosures. The right-of-use asset is to be presented according to the type of underlying asset (land leases with land owned assets, etc.). They have decided not to define whether the right-of-use asset is tangible or intangible. This is a question that affects some regulated industries for tax and other purposes. The boards have decided to let the relevant regulatory bodies make the determination appropriate to their purposes.

The Statement of Cash Flows would show principal and interest payments in accordance with requirements for other financing. Variable lease payments (not capitalized) and short-term rentals are operating cash flows. New leases (creating a new asset & liability) would be an additional non-cash disclosure.

June meeting results in next post...

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