FASB Proposes Changes to Presentation of Reclassified Income

By Anne Rosivach

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued for public comment a proposed Accounting Standards Update (ASU) that is intended to improve the presentation of reclassifications out of accumulated other comprehensive income. The proposed amendments balance the benefits to users of financial statements without imposing significant additional costs to preparers, according to FASB's In Focus documents. The proposed update would apply to all public and private organizations that issue financial statements in conformity with US GAAP and that report other comprehensive income.
 
The ASU Comprehensive Income (Topic 220), Presentation of Items Reclassified Out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income, would require a tabular disclosure of the effect of items reclassified, which presents, in one place, information about the amounts reclassified and a road map to related financial disclosures. This information is currently presented throughout the financial statements under US GAAP. 
 
Other comprehensive income includes gains and losses that are initially excluded from net income for an accounting period. Those gains and losses are later reclassified out of accumulated other comprehensive income into net income.
 
Some items of other comprehensive income that are reclassified after a reporting period, and which FASB uses in its presentation examples, include cash flow hedges, unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale securities, and foreign currency translation adjustments. US GAAP disclosure requirements already require this information to be disclosed, the Exposure Draft (ED) of the amendments states. 
 
The ED provides examples of tabular formats and addresses the needs of life insurers. It also refers to US GAAP requirements for defined benefit pension costs.
 
"Stakeholders raised concerns that certain requirements about the reclassification of items out of accumulated other comprehensive income would be costly for preparers and add unnecessary complexity to financial statements," said FASB Chairman Leslie F. Seidman. "Based on this new feedback, the Board is proposing a revised approach that will present information about other comprehensive information in a useful way that is more cost-effective." 
 
No decision has been made regarding an effective date. Stakeholders are asked to provide their written comments on the proposed ASU by October 15, 2012.
 
The electronic feedback form as well as the Exposure Draft can be accessed on the FASB website.
 
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