An accounting alternative that was issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on March 20 would – if certain conditions are met – exempt private companies from applying variable interest entity (VIE) guidance to lessors under common-control leasing arrangements.
Under the new guidance – FASB Accounting Standards Update No. 2014-07, Applying Variable Interest Entities Guidance to Common Control Leasing Arrangements – the private company would instead make certain disclosures about the lessor and the leasing arrangement.
The alternative was approved by the Private Company Council (PCC), which works with the FASB to enhance the relevance and reduce the complexity of certain standards for private companies that prepare US GAAP-based financial statements.
According to the GAAP alternative, a private company lessee could elect not to apply VIE guidance to a lessor when the following conditions are met:
- The private company lessee and the lessor are under common control.
- The private company lessee has a leasing arrangement with the lessor.
- Substantially all of the activity between the private company lessee and the lessor is related to the leasing activities (including supporting leasing activities) between those two companies.
- If the private company lessee explicitly guarantees or provides collateral for any obligation of the lessor related to the asset leased by the private company, then the principal amount of the obligation at inception does not exceed the value of the asset leased by the private company from the lessor.
If elected, the accounting alternative would be applied to all leasing arrangements meeting the alternative’s conditions.
“The disclosures under this alternative provide useful lessor-related information for users of private company financial statements, while reducing costs and complexity for private company lessees that apply VIE guidance,” FASB Chairman Russell Golden said in a written statement. “Therefore, the alternative meets the overall objective of the Private Company Decision-Making Framework for addressing the needs of private company stakeholders.”
According to the FASB, the alternative should be applied retrospectively to all periods presented, and is effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2014, and interim periods within annual periods beginning after December 15, 2015. Early application is permitted for all financial statements that have not yet been issued.