1 Best Read All IFRS vs US GAAP Leases

IFRS vs US GAAP Leases

1 best read of all comparisons

In 2016, the IASB and FASB issued new standards addressing the accounting for leases (IFRS 16 and ASC 842, respectively). The prior leasing standards (IAS 17 and ASC 840, respectively) were in practice significantly converged. The primary objective of the new standards was to require lessees to recognize assets and liabilities on the balance sheet for most lease contracts. Although the boards accomplished this goal, they did so in different ways.

Thus, while the boards remained largely converged with respect to scope and initial measurement, they significantly diverged on subsequent measurement for lessees: the IASB requires a single measurement model (akin to that for finance leases under U.S. GAAP) while the FASB maintains a two-class system (operating and finance lease classifications).

In addition, while certain presentation and disclosure requirements in IFRS 16 are similar to those in ASC 842, there are also certain differences (quantitative and qualitative) in this area. Other differences between IFRS 16 and ASC 842 may also arise as a result of differences between IFRS Standards and U.S. GAAP in other standards, including those related to (1) impairment of financial instruments and long-lived assets other than goodwill and (2) the accounting for investment properties.

The Lease Standards, effective 2019, requires that leases greater than 12 months are reported on Balance Sheets as Right of Use Assets under both US GAAP and IFRS. US GAAP distinguishes between Operating and Finance Leases (both are recognized on the Balance Sheet), while IFRS does not (any more).

Standards Reference



ASC 842 Leases

IFRS 16 Leases


The following discussion captures a number of the more significant GAAP differences under both the standards. It is important to note that the discussion is not inclusive of all GAAP differences in this area.

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IFRS 16 Good Important Read – Lease payments

Lease payments – Lessee perspective

or what does a lessee include in its lease liability?

At the commencement date, a lessee measures the lease liability as the present value of lease payments that have not been paid at that date. In a simple lease that includes only fixed lease payments, this can be a simple calculation (IFRS 16.26).

Lease payments

Worked example – Fixed lease payments are included in lease liabilities
Lessee B enters into a five year lease of a photocopier. The lease payments are 10,000 per annum, paid at the end of each year.

Because the annual lease payments are fixed amounts, B includes the present value of the five annual payments in the initial measurement of the lease liability.

Using a discount rate (determined as B’s incremental borrowing rate) of 5%, the lease liability at the commencement date is calculated as follows:


Lease payments

















Lease liability at commencement date



Categories of lease payment

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