SEC amends Form 20-F for IFRS adopters

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14 Apr 2005

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted amendments to Form 20-F to provide an accommodation to foreign private issuers that change their basis of accounting to IFRSs prior to or for the 2007 financial year.

The amendments also require certain disclosures from all foreign private issuers that adopt IFRSs for the first time during any financial year. The Commission did not, however, change its current requirement for a reconciliation of financial statement items to US generally accepted accounting principles. Click here for (PDF 212k). The (PDF 29k) says that "the Commission is adopting these amendments to promote and encourage the use of IFRSs as a high quality set of accounting standards." The key changes are as follows:

  • Issuers that are registered with the SEC generally are required to provide in their SEC filings three years of audited financial statements prepared on a consistent basis of accounting. The amendments will permit eligible issuers to file two years rather than three years of statements of income, changes in shareholders' equity and cash flows prepared in accordance with IFRS in annual reports and registration statements filed during the first year in which they adopt IFRSs, with appropriate related disclosure. To be eligible to rely on this accommodation, a foreign private issuer must adopt IFRSs for the first time prior to or for its first financial year starting on or after 1 January 2007.
  • The amendments also require certain disclosures from issuers that adopt IFRSs for the first time in any financial year. These requirements relate to an issuer's reliance on any of the transitional measurement exceptions available to a first-time adopter under IFRS and to the reconciliation to IFRS from the issuer's previous basis of accounting.

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