IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities & Contingent Assets defines and specifies the accounting for and disclosure of provisions, contingent liabilities, and contingent assets.
A provision is a liability of uncertain timing or amount. The liability may be a legal obligation or a constructive obligation. A constructive obligation arises from the entity’s actions, through which it has indicated to others that it will accept certain responsibilities, and as a result has created an expectation that it will discharge those responsibilities. Examples of provisions may include: warranty obligations; legal or constructive obligations to clean up contaminated land or restore facilities; and obligations caused by a retailer’s policy to make refunds to customers.
An entity recognizes a provision if it is probable that an outflow of cash or other economic resources will be required to settle the provision. If an outflow is not probable, the item is treated as a contingent liability.
A provision is measured at the amount that the entity would rationally pay to settle the obligation at the end of the reporting period or to transfer it to a third party at that time. Risks and uncertainties are taken into account in measuring a provision. A provision is discounted to its present value.
IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities & Contingent Assets elaborates on the application of the recognition and measurement requirements for three specific cases:
Contingent liabilities are possible obligations whose existence will be confirmed by uncertain future events that are not wholly within the control of the entity. An example is litigation against the entity when it is uncertain whether the entity has committed an act of wrongdoing and when it is not probable that settlement will be needed.
Contingent liabilities also include obligations that are not recognised because their amount cannot be measured reliably or because settlement is not probable. Contingent liabilities do not include provisions for which it is certain that the entity has a present obligation that is more likely than not to lead to an outflow of cash or other economic resources, even though the amount or timing is uncertain.
A contingent liability is not recognised in the statement of financial position. However, unless the possibility of an outflow of economic resources is remote, a contingent liability is disclosed in the notes.
Contingent assets are possible assets whose existence will be confirmed by the occurrence or non-occurrence of uncertain future events that are not wholly within the control of the entity. Contingent assets are not recognised, but they are disclosed when it is more likely than not that an inflow of benefits will occur. However, when the inflow of benefits is virtually certain an asset is recognised in the statement of financial position, because that asset is no longer considered to be contingent.
IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities & Contingent Assets is Copyright: IFRS Foundation
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