IFRS 16 Leases

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Standard 2021 Issued
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IFRS 16 is effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019, with earlier application permitted (as long as IFRS 15 is also applied).

The objective of IFRS 16 is to report information that (a) faithfully represents lease transactions and (b) provides a basis for users of financial statements to assess the amount, timing and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases. To meet that objective, a lessee should recognise assets and liabilities arising from a lease.

IFRS 16 introduces a single lessee accounting model and requires a lessee to recognise assets and liabilities for all leases with a term of more than 12 months, unless the underlying asset is of low value. A lessee is required to recognise a right-of-use asset representing its right to use the underlying leased asset and a lease liability representing its obligation to make lease payments.

Standard history

In April 2001 the International Accounting Standards Board (Board) adopted IAS 17 Leases, which had originally been issued by the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) in December 1997. IAS 17 Leases replaced IAS 17 Accounting for Leases that was issued in September 1982.

In April 2001 the Board adopted SIC‑15 Operating Leases—Incentives, which had originally been issued by the Standing Interpretations Committee of the IASC in December 1998.

In December 2001 the Board issued SIC‑27 Evaluating the Substance of Transactions Involving the Legal Form of a Lease. SIC‑27 had originally been developed by the Standing Interpretations Committee of the IASC to provide guidance on determining, amongst other things, whether an arrangement that involves the legal form of a lease meets the definition of a lease under IAS 17.

In December 2003 the Board issued a revised IAS 17 as part of its initial agenda of technical projects.

In December 2004 the Board issued IFRIC 4 Determining whether an Arrangement contains a Lease. The Interpretation was developed by the Interpretations Committee to provide guidance on determining whether transactions that do not take the legal form of a lease but convey the right to use an asset in return for a payment or series of payments are, or contain, leases that should be accounted for in accordance with IAS 17.

In January 2016 the Board issued IFRS 16 Leases. IFRS 16 replaces IAS 17, IFRIC 4, SIC‑15 and SIC‑27. IFRS 16 sets out the principles for the recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of leases.

In May 2020 the Board issued Covid-19-Related Rent Concessions, which amended IFRS 16. The amendment permits lessees, as a practical expedient, not to assess whether rent concessions that occur as a direct consequence of the covid-19 pandemic and meet specified conditions are lease modifications. Instead, the lessee accounts for those rent concessions as if they were not lease modifications.

In August 2020 the Board issued Interest Rate Benchmark Reform―Phase 2 which amended requirements in IFRS 9, IAS 39, IFRS 7, IFRS 4 and IFRS 16 relating to:

  • changes in the basis for determining contractual cash flows of financial assets, financial liabilities and lease liabilities;
  • hedge accounting; and
  • disclosures.

The Phase 2 amendments apply only to changes required by the interest rate benchmark reform to financial instruments and hedging relationships.

Other Standards have made minor consequential amendments to IFRS 16, including Amendments to References to the Conceptual Framework in IFRS Standards (issued March 2018).

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