IFRS 16 Leases brings significant changes in accounting requirements for lease accounting, primarily for lessees.
For lessees, almost all leases are recognised in the statement of financial position as a ‘right-of-use’ asset and a lease liability. There are narrow exceptions to this recognition principle for leases where the underlying asset is of low value and for short term leases (i.e. those with a lease term of 12 months or less). The asset is subsequently accounted for in accordance with the cost or revaluation model in IAS 16 Property, Plant and Equipment or as investment property under IAS 40 Investment Property. The liability and right-of-use asset are unwound over the term of the lease giving rise to an interest expense and depreciation charge, respectively.
Lessor accounting remains substantially unchanged from IAS 17 Leases. Lessors continue to account for leases as either operating or finance leases depending on whether the lease transfers substantially all the risks and rewards incidental to ownership of the underlying asset to the lessee. Operating leases continue to be recorded as assets in the statement of financial position and lease income is recognised on a straight line basis over the lease term. For finance leases, a lessor is required to derecognise the underlying asset and record a receivable equal to the net investment in the lease, with a gain or loss on sale. Finance income is subsequently recognised at the rate inherent in the lease over the lease term.
The effective date of IFRS 16 is for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019. For lessees there is a choice of full retrospective application (i.e. restating comparatives as if IFRS 16 had always been in force), or retrospective application without restatement of prior year comparatives. This results in the cumulative impact of adoption being recorded as an adjustment to equity at the beginning of the accounting period in which the standard is first applied (the date of initial application).