Summary of Statement No. 144

Accounting for the Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets (Issued 8/01)

Summary

This Statement addresses financial accounting and reporting for the impairment or disposal of long-lived assets. This Statement supersedes FASB Statement No. 121, Accounting for the Impairment of Long-Lived Assets and for Long-Lived Assets to Be Disposed Of, and the accounting and reporting provisions of APB Opinion No. 30, Reporting the Results of Operations-Reporting the Effects of Disposal of a Segment of a Business, and Extraordinary, Unusual and Infrequently Occurring Events and Transactions, for the disposal of a segment of a business (as previously defined in that Opinion). This Statement also amends ARB No. 51, Consolidated Financial Statements, to eliminate the exception to consolidation for a subsidiary for which control is likely to be temporary.

Reasons for Issuing This Statement

Because Statement 121 did not address the accounting for a segment of a business accounted for as a discontinued operation under Opinion 30, two accounting models existed for long-lived assets to be disposed of. The Board decided to establish a single accounting model, based on the framework established in Statement 121, for long-lived assets to be disposed of by sale. The Board also decided to resolve significant implementation issues related to Statement 121.

Differences between This Statement, Statement 121, and Opinion 30 and Additional Implementation Guidance

 

Long-Lived Assets to Be Held and Used

This Statement retains the requirements of Statement 121 to (a) recognize an impairment loss only if the carrying amount of a long-lived asset is not recoverable from its undiscounted cash flows and (b) measure an impairment loss as the difference between the carrying amount and fair value of the asset. To resolve implementation issues, this Statement:

  • Removes goodwill from its scope and, therefore, eliminates the requirement of Statement 121 to allocate goodwill to long-lived assets to be tested for impairment

     

  • Describes a probability-weighted cash flow estimation approach to deal with situations in which alternative courses of action to recover the carrying amount of a long-lived asset are under consideration or a range is estimated for the amount of possible future cash flows

     

  • Establishes a "primary-asset" approach to determine the cash flow estimation period for a group of assets and liabilities that represents the unit of accounting for a long-lived asset to be held and used

Long-Lived Assets to Be Disposed Of Other Than by Sale

This Statement requires that a long-lived asset to be abandoned, exchanged for a similar productive asset, or distributed to owners in a spinoff be considered held and used until it is disposed of. To resolve implementation issues, this Statement:

  • Requires that the depreciable life of along-lived asset to be abandoned be revised in accordance with APB Opinion No. 20, Accounting Changes

     

  • Amends APB Opinion No. 29, Accounting for Nonmonetary Transactions, to require that an impairment loss be recognized at the date a long-lived asset is exchanged for a similar productive asset or distributed to owners in a spinoff if the carrying amount of the asset exceeds its fair value.

Long-Lived Assets to Be Disposed Of by Sale

The accounting model for long-lived assets to be disposed of by sale is used for all long-lived assets, whether previously held and used or newly acquired. That accounting model retains the requirement of Statement 121 to measure a long-lived asset classified as held for sale at the lower of its carrying amount or fair value less cost to sell and to cease depreciation (amortization). Therefore, discontinued operations are no longer measured on a net realizable value basis, and future operating losses are no longer recognized before they occur.

This Statement retains the basic provisions of Opinion 30 for the presentation of discontinued operations in the income statement but broadens that presentation to include a component of an entity (rather than a segment of a business). A component of an entity comprises operations and cash flows that can be clearly distinguished, operationally and for financial reporting purposes, from the rest of the entity. A component of an entity that is classified as held for sale or that has been disposed of is presented as a discontinued operation if the operations and cash flows of the component will be (or have been) eliminated from the ongoing operations of the entity and the entity will not have any significant continuing involvement in the operations of the component.

To resolve implementation issues, this Statement:

  • Establishes criteria beyond that previously specified in Statement 121 to determine when a long-lived asset is held for sale, including a group of assets and liabilities that represents the unit of accounting for a long-lived asset classified as held for sale. Among other things, those criteria specify that (a) the asset must be available for immediate sale in its present condition subject only to terms that are usual and customary for sales of such assets and (b) the sale of the asset must be probable, and its transfer expected to qualify for recognition as a completed sale, within one year, with certain exceptions.

     

  • Provides guidance on the accounting for a long-lived asset if the criteria for classification as held for sale are met after the balance sheet date but before issuance of the financial statements. That guidance prohibits retroactive reclassification of the asset as held for sale at the balance sheet date. Therefore, the guidance in EITF Issue No. 95-18, "Accounting and Reporting for a Discontinued Business Segment When the Measurement Date Occurs after the Balance Sheet Date but before the Issuance of Financial Statements," is superseded.

     

  • Provides guidance on the accounting for a long-lived asset classified as held for sale if the asset is reclassified as held and used. The reclassified asset is measured at the lower of its (a) carrying amount before being classified as held for sale, adjusted for any depreciation (amortization) expense that would have been recognized had the asset been continuously classified as held and used, or (b) fair value at the date the asset is reclassified as held and used.

How the Changes in This Statement Improve Financial Reporting

The changes in this Statement improve financial reporting by requiring that one accounting model be used for long-lived assets to be disposed of by sale, whether previously held and used or newly acquired, and by broadening the presentation of discontinued operations to include more disposal transactions. Therefore, the accounting for similar events and circumstances will be the same. Additionally, the information value of reported financial information will be improved. Finally, resolving significant implementation issues will improve compliance with the requirements of this Statement and, therefore, comparability among entities and the representational faithfulness of reported financial information.

How the Conclusions in This Statement Relate to the Conceptual Framework

In reconsidering the use of a measurement approach based on net realizable value, and the accrual of future operating losses required under that approach, the Board used the definition of a liability in FASB Concepts Statement No. 6, Elements of Financial Statements. The Board determined that future operating losses do not meet the definition of a liability.

In considering changes to Statement 121, the Board focused on the qualitative characteristics discussed in FASB Concepts Statement No. 2, Qualitative Characteristics of Accounting Information. In particular, the Board determined that:

  • Broadening the presentation of discontinuedoperations to include more disposal transactions provides investors, creditors, and others with decision-useful information that is relevant in assessing the effects of disposal transactions on the ongoing operations of an entity

     

  • Eliminating inconsistencies from having two accounting models for long-lived assets to be disposed of by sale improves comparability in financial reporting among entities, enabling users to identify similarities in and differences between two sets of economic events.

This Statement also incorporates the guidance in FASB Concepts Statement No. 7, Using Cash Flow Information and Present Value in Accounting Measurements, for using present value techniques to measure fair value.

The Effective Date of This Statement

The provisions of this Statement are effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2001, and interim periods within those fiscal years, with early application encouraged. The provisions of this Statement generally are to be applied prospectively.