FASB pauses goodwill accounting project

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Jun 16, 2022

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) decided to set aside a long-running project on goodwill accounting that would have required companies to amortize goodwill on a straight-line basis over 10 to 25 years, removing the project from its technical agenda and deprioritizing it for now.

The project was added to FASB’s technical agenda in 2018 with the goal of revisiting the subsequent accounting for goodwill and identifiable intangible assets broadly for all entities, including how to improve the decision usefulness of the information and rebalancing the cost-benefit factors.

According to a handout for a meeting Tuesday, FASB’s tentative decisions and leanings ahead of the meeting focused mainly on the details of the subsequent measurement of goodwill. The guidance would have required companies to amortize goodwill on a straight-line basis over a 10-year default period or over an estimated period, using an open list of factors to consider, limited to a 25-year cap. Reassessing the amortization period would be prohibited. Companies would test goodwill for impairment only upon a triggering event, and continue to test goodwill for impairment at the reporting unit level. During a meeting last month, FASB started discussing presentation alternatives for goodwill charges, but didn’t come to a consensus on an income statement presentation.

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