IAS 38 — Intangible Assets

Effective date:

First effective as Canadian GAAP under Part I for interim and annual financial statements relating to fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2011 except for subsequent amendments.  Earlier application of Part I was permitted.

Published by the IASB:

March 2004

Included in Part I of CPA Canada Handbook:

January 2010

Reach out to our IAS 38 Specialist

Sean Morrison


IAS 38 Intangible Assets outlines the accounting requirements for intangible assets, which are non-monetary assets which are without physical substance and identifiable (either being separable or arising from contractual or other legal rights). Intangible assets meeting the relevant recognition criteria are initially measured at cost, subsequently measured at cost or using the revaluation model, and amortized on a systematic basis over their useful lives (unless the asset has an indefinite useful life, in which case it is not amortized).

History of IAS 38

The following table shows the history of this standard subsequent to the adoption of IFRS in Canada.




Included in Part I of the CPA Canada Handbook2

January 2010

Part I of the CPA Canada Handbook issued

Effective for interim and annual financial statements relating to fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2011. Earlier application is permitted.

January 2010

December 12, 2013

Amended by Annual Improvements to IFRSs 2010–2012 Cycle (proportionate restatement of accumulated depreciation under the revaluation method)


The amendments clarify the requirements for the revaluation model regarding the proportionate restatement of accumulated depreciation.

The amendments are effective for annual periods beginning on or after July 1, 2014. Earlier application is permitted.

March 2014

May 12, 2014

Amended by Clarification of Acceptable Methods of Depreciation and Amortization (Amendments to IAS 16 and IAS 38)


IAS 16 Property, Plant and Equipment and IAS 38 Intangible Assets have been revised to incorporate amendments issued by the IASB in May 2014. The amendments to IAS 16 clarify that the use of revenue-based methods to determine the depreciation of an asset is not appropriate. The amendments to IAS 38 clarify that an amortization method based on revenue is generally presumed to be an inappropriate basis for measuring the consumption of the economic benefits embodied in an intangible asset. However, the amendments provide limited circumstances when a revenue-based method can be an appropriate basis for amortization.

The amendments are effective for annual periods beginning on or after January 1, 2016. Earlier application is permitted.

July 2014


  1. For further details of relevant developments prior to this, please refer to our Deloitte Global section.
  2. Newly issued, amended or revised IFRSs are part of Canadian GAAP only after they are approved by the Accounting Standards Board in accordance with its due process.

The above summary does not include details of consequential amendments made as the result of other projects.

Related Interpretations

Related IFRIC Agenda Rejection Notices

The rejection notices are available in our Deloitte Global section.

  • IAS 16, IAS 38 and IAS 17 — Purchase of a right to use land (September 2012)
  • IAS 38 — Amortisation method (January 2010)
  • IAS 38 — Compliance costs for REACH (July 2009)
  • IAS 38 — Accounting by a real estate developer for sales costs during construction (May 2009)
  • IAS 37/IAS 38 — Regulatory assets and liabilities (March 2009)
  • IAS 38 — Classification and accounting for SIM cards (November 2006)
  • IAS 38 — Adoption of IAS 38 (revised 2004) (November 2006)
  • IAS 38 — Regulatory asset (August 2005)
  • IAS 38 — Subscriber acquisition costs (November 2004)
  • IAS 38 — Costs of acquiring or developing content for electronic databases (February 2002)

AcSB’s IFRS Discussion Group meetings

Amendments under consideration

Correction list for hyphenation

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