News from SEC on IFRS, FASB on disclosure framework, and IRS on transfer pricing

BVWireIssue #118-2
July 18, 2012

The federal regulators and enforcement agencies were busy last week, dropping several new releases on or before Friday the 13th:

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission issued its Work Plan for the Consideration of Incorporating International Financial Accounting Standards Into the Financial Reporting System for U.S. Issuers. Although the SEC Work Plan attempts an even-handed assessment, its introduction says it “did not set out to answer the fundamental question of whether transitioning to IFRS is in the best interests of the U.S. securities markets generally and U.S. investors specifically.”

    The international regulators have already pushed back against what they see as a noncommittal response to convergence. “While recognizing the right of the SEC to determine the method and timing for incorporation of IFRSs in the United States, we regret that the staff report is not accompanied by a recommended action plan for the SEC,” says an IFRS release. "IFRSs have already achieved critical mass as international standards and … the momentum behind them becoming global accounting standards is irreversible.”
  • The Financial Accounting Standards Board released its Invitation to Comment, Disclosure Framework, which solicits stakeholder input “on ways to improve effectiveness of disclosures in notes to financial statements of public, private, and not-for-profit organizations,” says the board’s announcement. Comments are due by November 16.

    Earlier in the week, the FASB also voted to remove the loan loss contingency project from its agenda, indicating it would take no further action, but leave enforcement to efforts other than standard-setting.
  • Responding to its well-publicized concerns over U.S. corporations “repatriating earnings” by transferring intangible assets—particularly intellectual property, such as patents—to international affiliates without an appropriate recognition of income, the Internal Revenue Service has just published Notice 2012-39. The new guidance applies to all such transfers on or after July 13, and relevant Treasury regulations will be forthcoming.
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