FASB Issues Targeted Improvements to Leases Standard

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2018-11, Leases (Topic 842): Targeted Improvements. ASU No. 2018-11 provides a new transition method and a practical expedient for separating components of a contract intended to reduce costs and ease implementation of the leases standard for financial statement preparers.

“The targeted improvements in the ASU address areas our stakeholders identified as sources of unnecessary cost or complexity in the leases standard,” stated FASB Chairman Russell G. Golden.  “They represent the FASB’s commitment to proactively address   implementation issues raised by our stakeholders to ensure a successful transition to the new standard without compromising the quality of information provided to investors.”

Transition: Comparative Reporting at Adoption

The amendments in ASU 2018-11 provide entities with an additional (and optional) transition method to adopt the new leases standard. Under this new transition method, an entity initially applies the new leases standard at the adoption date and recognizes a cumulative-effect adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings in the period of adoption consistent with preparers’ requests. Consequently, an entity’s reporting for the comparative periods presented in the financial statements in which it adopts the new leases standard will continue to be in accordance with current GAAP in Topic 840, Leases.

An entity that elects this additional (and optional) transition method must provide the required Topic 840 disclosures for all periods that continue to be in accordance with Topic 840. The amendments do not change the existing disclosure requirements in Topic 840 (for example, they do not create interim disclosure requirements that entities previously were not required to provide).

Separating Components of a Contract

The amendments in ASU No. 2018-11 provide lessors with a practical expedient, by class of underlying asset, to not separate nonlease components from the associated lease component and, instead, to account for those components as a single component if the nonlease components otherwise would be accounted for under the new revenue guidance (Topic 606) and both of the following are met:

  • The timing and pattern of transfer of the nonlease component(s) and associated lease component are the same.
  • The lease component, if accounted for separately, would be classified as an operating lease.

An entity electing this practical expedient (including an entity that accounts for the combined component entirely in Topic 606) is required to disclose certain information, by class of underlying asset, as specified in the ASU.

Effective Date

The amendments in ASU No. 2018-11  related to separating components of a contract affect the amendments in ASU No. 2016-02, which are not yet effective but can be early adopted are:

  • For entities that have not adopted Topic 842 before the issuance of this ASU, the effective date and transition requirements for the amendments in this update related to separating components of a contract are the same as the effective date and transition requirements in ASU No. 2016-02.
  • For entities that have adopted Topic 842 before the issuance of ASU 2018-11, the transition and effective date of the amendments related to separating components of a contract in this Update are as follows:

The practical expedient may be elected either in the first reporting period following the issuance of this Update or at the original effective date of Topic 842 for that entity. The practical expedient may be applied either retrospectively or prospectively.

All entities, including early adopters, that elect the practical expedient related to separating components of a contract in ASU No. 2018-11 must apply the expedient, by class of underlying asset, to all existing lease transactions that qualify for the expedient at the date elected.

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CCH ARM Editorial

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