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UK FRC questions draft IFRIC Interpretation on levies

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03 Sep 2012

The UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has responded to the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) regarding the draft IFRIC Interpretation 'Levies Charged by Public Authorities on Entities that Operate in a Specific Market'. The FRC does not believe that the draft interpretation always leads to decision useful information for users.

The FRC agrees that the interpretation is a technically correct analysis of how IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets should be applied to levies. However, the FRC argues, it does not always result in the substance of the transaction being reported. (The example presented in the comment letter is the UK bank levy.) The lack of faithful representation of the effects of transactions, other events and conditions is a contradiction to IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements which requires that financial statements should always present the position and performance of an entity fairly.

The fact that a technically correct interpretation leads to conclusions that do not reflect the substance of the underlying transaction prompts the FRC to suggest that the underlying principle in IAS 37 is wrong or in conflict with IAS 1 and should be revisited. The FRC concludes in its comment letter:

 

We are concerned that accounting and reporting that diverges so significantly from the underlying substance of the transaction has the potential for bringing accounting into disrepute. As a result, we would recommend that rather than issuing this IFRIC in final form the underlying principle in IAS 37 should be referred to the IASB for review.

In issuing this comment letter, the FRC also contradicts the preliminary EFRAG view that the consensus in the draft IFRIC Interpretation will lead to decision useful information for users of financial statements.

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