Insights into PFRS 16: Sale and Leaseback Accounting

This Accounting Alert is issued to provide a discussion on the significant changes to sale and leaseback accounting as introduced by PFRS 16. 

Sale and Leaseback Accounting

A sale and leaseback transaction is one where an entity (the seller-lessee) transfers an asset to another entity (the buyer-lessor) for consideration and leases that asset back from the buyer-lessor.

sale and leaseback transaction is a popular way for entities to secure long-term financing from substantial property, plant and equipment assets such as land and buildings.

PAS 17 covered the accounting for a sale and leaseback transaction in considerable detail but only from the perspective of the seller-lessee.

As PFRS 16 has withdrawn the concepts of operating leases and finance leases from lessee accounting, the accounting requirements that the seller-lessee must apply to a sale and leaseback are more straight forward. In addition, PFRS 16 provides an overview of the accounting requirements for buyer-lessors too.

When a seller-lessee has undertaken a sale and lease back transaction with a buyer-lessor, both the seller-lessee and the buyer-lessor must first determine whether the transfer qualifies as a sale. This determination is based on the requirements for satisfying a performance obligation in PFRS 15, Revenue from Contracts with Customers.

The accounting treatment will vary depending on whether or not the transfer qualifies as a sale.