FASB vs. IASB lease standards

BVWireIssue #164-2
May 11, 2016

In a video, Anne-Lise Vivier (Thomson Reuters) gives a good explanation of some of the differences in the lease accounting standards under U.S. GAAP and IFRS. U.S. companies will be required to add leases to their balance sheets under an overhaul of the lease accounting rules by the FASB. Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-02, Leases, will apply to both capital (aka finance) and operating leases. Up to now, GAAP has required only capital leases to be recognized on lessee balance sheets. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) also recently issued a final lease standard (IFRS 16, Leases) that will require companies to bring leases onto the balance sheet. The IASB and FASB agree on many points, including the requirement that all leases of more than 12 months be recognized on lessee balance sheets. But they diverge in some respects, including lease classification. The FASB standard uses a dual-reporting model for lessees, while the IASB standard uses a single-classification model that requires lessees to account for all leases as capital (finance) leases.

The FASB standard will take effect for public companies for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after Dec. 15, 2018. For all other organizations, the ASU on leases will take effect for fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2019, and for interim periods within fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2020. Early application will be permitted for all organizations.

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