New lease accounting standard proposed for federal entities

By Ken Tysiac

The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) issued a proposal Monday that would change lease accounting for federal government entities.

Proposed Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS), Leases: An Amendment of SFFAS 5, Accounting for Liabilities of the Federal Government, and SFFAS 6, Accounting for Property, Plant, and Equipment, is designed to provide relevant and meaningful financial information for federal financial statement users.

The proposal would include a comprehensive set of lease accounting standards to recognize federal lease activities in the reporting entity’s general-purpose federal financial reports, as well as appropriate disclosures.

Under the proposed standard, federal lessees would recognize a lease liability and a leased asset at the beginning of the lease, unless it is an intragovernmental lease or a short-term lease. A federal lessor would recognize a lease receivable and deferred revenue, except on an intragovernmental lease or a short-term lease.

An intragovernmental lease is a contract or agreement that conveys the right to use an asset for a period in exchange for consideration occurring within a consolidation entity or between two or more consolidation entities as defined under SFFAS 47, Reporting Entity.

Recognition, measurement, and disclosure requirements for intragovernmental leases also are contained in the proposal.

“The board is seeking to provide relevant and decision-useful information to federal financial statement users,” FASAB Chairman Scott Showalter said in a news release. “The board strongly considered the costs associated with the lease proposal. Those cost considerations are especially evident with the proposed accounting for short-term and intragovernmental leases. Additionally, we were able to address some implementation issues resulting from the current standards.”

Comments can be submitted through Jan. 6 by email to fasab@fasab.gov.

Ken Tysiac (ktysiac@aicpa.org) is a JofA editorial director.

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