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IAS 20 Accounting for Government Grants and Disclosure of Government Assistance

IAS 20 classifies government grants into those related to assets and those related to income. Grants related to assets may be either recognized as deferred income on the statement of financial position or subtracted from the carrying amount of the related asset. In both cases, they are recognized on a systematic basis over the period in which the asset generates economic benefit. Grants related to income may be recognized either as part of other income or by reducing relevant expense items.

Scope

IAS 20 Accounting for Government Grants and Disclosure of Government Assistance is to be applied in accounting for, and in the disclosure of, government grants and in the disclosure of other forms of government assistance.

IAS 20 is not applicable on the following:

  • tax benefits granted in determining taxable profit or tax loss (such as income tax holidays, investment tax credits, accelerated depreciation allowances and reduced income tax rates);
  • government participation in the ownership of the entity, and
  • government grants to which IAS 41 Agriculture applies.

Definitions

Government assistance

Government assistance is action by government (either local, national or international) designed to provide an economic benefit to entitie(s) qualifying under certain criteria.

Government grants

Government grants (also called subsidies, subventions, or premiums) are assistance by government in the form of transfers of resources to an entity in return for past or future compliance with certain conditions relating to the operating activities of the entity.

Government grants exclude those forms of government assistance which cannot reasonably have a value placed upon them and transactions with government which cannot be distinguished from the normal trading transactions of the entity.

Grants related to assets are government grants whose primary condition is that an entity qualifying for them should purchase, construct or otherwise acquire long‑term assets. Subsidiary conditions may also be attached restricting the type or location of the assets or the periods during which they are to be acquired or held.

Grants related to income are government grants other than those related to assets.

Forgivable loans

Forgivable loans are loans which the lender undertakes to waive repayment of under certain prescribed conditions.

Recognition of government grants

Government grants shall not be recognised until there is reasonable assurance that both the following conditions will be met:

  • the entity will comply with the conditions attaching to them
  • the grants will be received.

Receipt of a grant does not of itself provide conclusive evidence that the conditions attaching to the grant have been or will be fulfilled.

A forgivable loan from government is treated as a government grant when there is reasonable assurance that the entity will meet the terms for forgiveness of the loan.

The benefit of a government loan at a below-market rate of interest is treated as a government grant. The loan shall be recognised and measured in accordance with IFRS 9 Financial Instruments.

The benefit of the below-market rate of interest shall be measured as the difference between the initial carrying value of the loan determined in accordance with IFRS 9 and the proceeds received. The benefit is accounted for in accordance with this Standard. The entity shall consider the conditions and obligations that have been, or must be, met when identifying the costs for which the benefit of the loan is intended to compensate.

Once a government grant is recognised, any related contingent liability or contingent asset is treated in accordance with IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets.

Government grants shall be recognised in profit or loss on a systematic basis over the periods in which the entity recognises as expenses the related costs for which the grants are intended to compensate.

There are two broad approaches to the accounting for government grants: the capital approach, under which a grant is recognised outside profit or loss, and the income approach, under which a grant is recognised in profit or loss over one or more periods.

It is fundamental to the income approach that government grants should be recognised in profit or loss on a systematic basis over the periods in which the entity recognises as expenses the related costs for which the grant is intended to compensate. Recognition of government grants in profit or loss on a receipts basis is not in accordance with the accrual accounting assumption (see IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements) and would be acceptable only if no basis existed for allocating a grant to periods other than the one in which it was received.

In most cases the periods over which an entity recognises the costs or expenses related to a government grant are readily ascertainable. Thus grants in recognition of specific expenses are recognised in profit or loss in the same period as the relevant expenses. Similarly, grants related to depreciable assets are usually recognised in profit or loss over the periods and in the proportions in which depreciation expense on those assets is recognised.

Grants related to non‑depreciable assets may also require the fulfilment of certain obligations and would then be recognised in profit or loss over the periods that bear the cost of meeting the obligations. As an example, a grant of land may be conditional upon the erection of a building on the site and it may be appropriate to recognise the grant in profit or loss over the life of the building.
Grants are sometimes received as part of a package of financial or fiscal aids to which a number of conditions are attached. In such cases, care is needed in identifying the conditions giving rise to costs and expenses which determine the periods over which the grant will be earned. It may be appropriate to allocate part of a grant on one basis and part on another.

A government grant that becomes receivable as compensation for expenses or losses already incurred or for the purpose of giving immediate financial support to the entity with no future related costs shall be recognised in profit or loss of the period in which it becomes receivable.
In some circumstances, a government grant may be awarded for the purpose of giving immediate financial support to an entity rather than as an incentive to undertake specific expenditures. Such grants may be confined to a particular entity and may not be available to a whole class of beneficiaries. These circumstances may warrant recognising a grant in profit or loss of the period in which the entity qualifies to receive it, with disclosure to ensure that its effect is clearly understood.
A government grant may become receivable by an entity as compensation for expenses or losses incurred in a previous period. Such a grant is recognised in profit or loss of the period in which it becomes receivable, with disclosure to ensure that its effect is clearly understood.

Non‑monetary government grants

A government grant in the form of a non‑monetary asset, such as land or other resources is usually recognized at its fair value. An alternative course that is sometimes followed is to record both asset and grant at a nominal amount.

Presentation of grants in financial statements

Government grants related to assets, including non‑monetary grants at fair value, shall be presented in the statement of financial position either by setting up the grant as deferred income or by deducting the grant in arriving at the carrying amount of the asset.

While both presentation methods are acceptable, in the statement of cash flows the associated cash flows must be presented on gross basis.

Grants related to income are presented as part of profit or loss, either separately or under a general heading such as ‘Other income’; alternatively, they are deducted in reporting the related expense.
Even though both methods are regarded as acceptable for the presentation of grants related to income, disclosure of the grant may be necessary for a proper understanding of the financial statements.

Repayment of government grants

A government grant that becomes repayable shall be accounted for as a change in accounting estimate. It means it is to be adjusted prospectively.

Repayment of a grant related to income shall be applied first against any unamortised deferred credit recognised in respect of the grant. To the extent that the repayment exceeds any such deferred credit, or when no deferred credit exists, the repayment shall be recognised immediately in profit or loss.

Repayment of a grant related to an asset shall be recognised by increasing the carrying amount of the asset or reducing the deferred income balance by the amount repayable. The cumulative additional depreciation that would have been recognised in profit or loss to date in the absence of the grant shall be recognised immediately in profit or loss.

Circumstances giving rise to repayment of a grant related to an asset may require consideration to be given to the possible impairment of the new carrying amount of the asset.

Government assistance

Examples of assistance that cannot reasonably have a value placed upon them are free technical or marketing advice and the provision of guarantees. An example of assistance that cannot be distinguished from the normal trading transactions of the entity is a government procurement policy that is responsible for a portion of the entity’s sales. The existence of the benefit might be unquestioned but any attempt to segregate the trading activities from government assistance could well be arbitrary.

The significance of the benefit in the above examples may be such that disclosure of the nature, extent and duration of the assistance is necessary in order that the financial statements may not be misleading.

In this Standard, government assistance does not include the provision of infrastructure by improvement to the general transport and communication network and the supply of improved facilities such as irrigation or water reticulation which is available on an ongoing indeterminate basis for the benefit of an entire local community.

Disclosure

An entity is required to be disclose the following regarding governments grants:

  • the accounting policy adopted for government grants, including the methods of presentation adopted in the financial statements;
  • the nature and extent of government grants recognised in the financial statements and an indication of other forms of government assistance from which the entity has directly benefited; and
  • unfulfilled conditions and other contingencies attaching to government assistance that has been recognised.

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