Ask the Expert: IFRS 16 Leases

David Holland, Moore Stephens National Head of Technical Accounting, offers his advice on technical and compliance issues that often impact businesses.
A company have entered into a 10-year agreement with the owner of the carpark they operate to pay 10% of all revenue generated by the car park back to the owner (payments due at the end of each month).  In return the company is free to set the pricing for the car park, incurs all operating costs (including insuring for public liability) and bears the credit risk for collecting parking fees (i.e. no agency relationship exists).
How does IFRS 16 apply to this transaction?
Since these payments:
  • result in genuine variability in the amount paid, there is sufficient risk retained by the lessor such that they are not in substance fixed payments (as per B42 below); and
  • are not linked to an index or rate (as per paragraph 27(b) and 28)
the payments do not form part of the calculation of the lease liability (paragraph 27) and will be expensed as the revenue is generated.
In practical terms this means the client will not recognise a right-to-use asset and lease liability for these payments at the inception of the lease but rather expense the payments each period.

9 At inception of a contract, an entity shall assess whether the contract is, or contains, a lease. A contract is, or contains, a lease if the contract conveys the right to control the use of an identified asset for a period of time in exchange for consideration. Paragraphs B9–B31 set out guidance on the assessment of whether a contract is, or contains, a lease.
27 At the commencement date, the lease payments included in the measurement of the lease liability comprise the following payments for the right to use the underlying asset during the lease term that are not paid at the commencement date:

(a) fixed payments (including in-substance fixed payments as described in paragraph B42), less any lease incentives receivable;

(b) variable lease payments that depend on an index or a rate, initially measured using the index or rate as at the commencement date (as described in paragraph 28);

(c) amounts expected to be payable by the lessee under residual value guarantees;

(d) the exercise price of a purchase option if the lessee is reasonably certain to exercise that option (assessed considering the factors described in paragraphs B37–B40); and

(e) payments of penalties for terminating the lease, if the lease term reflects the lessee exercising an option to terminate the lease.
28 Variable lease payments that depend on an index or a rate described in paragraph 27(b) include, for example, payments linked to a consumer price index, payments linked to a benchmark interest rate (such as LIBOR) or payments that vary to reflect changes in market rental rates.
38 After the commencement date, a lessee shall recognise in profit or loss, unless the costs are included in the carrying amount of another asset applying other applicable Standards, both:

(a) interest on the lease liability; and

(b) variable lease payments not included in the measurement of the lease liability in the period in which the event or condition that triggers those payments occurs
In-substance fixed lease payments (paragraphs 27(a), 36(c) and 70(a))
B42 Lease payments include any in-substance fixed lease payments. In-substance fixed lease payments are payments that may, in form, contain variability but that, in substance, are unavoidable. In-substance fixed lease payments exist, for example, if:

(a) payments are structured as variable lease payments, but there is no genuine variability in those payments. Those payments contain variable clauses that do not have real economic substance. Examples of those types of payments include:
  • (i) payments that must be made only if an asset is proven to be capable of operating during the lease, or only if an event occurs that has no genuine possibility of not occurring; or
  • (ii) payments that are initially structured as variable lease payments linked to the use of the underlying asset but for which the variability will be resolved at some point after the commencement date so that the payments become fixed for the remainder of the lease term. Those payments become in-substance fixed payments when the variability is resolved.
(b) there is more than one set of payments that a lessee could make, but only one of those sets of payments is realistic. In this case, an entity shall consider the realistic set of payments to be lease payments.

(c) there is more than one realistic set of payments that a lessee could make, but it must make at least one of those sets of payments. In this case, an entity shall consider the set of payments that aggregates to the lowest amount (on a discounted basis) to be lease payments.
IFRS 16 Illustrative example 14B
Assume the same facts as Example 14A except that Lessee is also required to make variable lease payments for each year of the lease, which are determined as 1 per cent of Lessee’s sales generated from the leased property.
At the commencement date, Lessee measures the right-of-use asset and the lease liability recognised at the same amounts as in Example 14A. This is because the additional variable lease payments are linked to future sales and, thus, do not meet the definition of lease payments. Consequently, those payments are not included in the measurement of the asset and liability.