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Module 10: Leases and Pensions. Operating leases Lessee assumes no risk of ownership. Recognize rent expense as each payment made. At end of lease term, right to use the property reverts to the owner. Capital leases Effectively an installment purchase.

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Module 10 leases and pensions
Module 10: Leases and Pensions


Operating leases

Lessee assumes no risk of ownership.

Recognize rent expense as each payment made.

At end of lease term, right to use the property reverts to the owner.

Capital leases

Effectively an installment purchase.

Lessee assumes rights and risks of ownership.

Treated as asset purchased with related liability.



Off-balance-sheet financing

Companies historically liked to contract for leases rather than asset purchases, to keep the liability off the books.

FASB issued SFAS No. 13, which requires certain leases to be recorded as capital leases.

Capital leases record the leased asset as a capital asset, and reflect the present value of the related payment contract as a liability.



Requirements of SFAS No. 13 - record as capital lease for the lessee if any one of the following is present in the lease:

title transfers at the end of the lease period.

the lease contains a bargain purchase option.

the lease life is at least 75% of the useful life of the asset.

the lessee pays for at least 90% of the fair market value of the lease.

Payments under a lease agreement may include:

Periodic rental payments (an annuity) and:

Bargain purchase option (BPO): an end of lease payment to purchase asset at less than market OR

Guaranteed residual value (GRV): a minimum amount (of cash and asset) required by the lessor if the asset is returned to the lessor.


Comments on leases

Many companies still have many leases that qualify as operating leases for financial reporting.

Comparison to companies with capital leases is difficult (different asset and liability structures).

Off balance sheet financing affects a number of ratios, but the significant effect is on the debt to equity ratio.

Disclosure information regarding operating lease components makes it possible for analysts to “capitalize” the operating leases for financial statement comparison.

Comments on Leases


Types of pension plans

defined contribution plans

defined benefit plans

Defined contribution plan

simple to report

journal entry at time of funding:

Pension expense xx

Cash xx

no recognition of asset or liability

promising only accumulated amount in pension investment.


Pensions continued

Defined benefit plan

promising an eventual benefit to employees

make payments to achieve the benefit

recognize assets/liabilities relating to the plan

if insufficient investment to meet promise: liability

if investment in excess of promise: asset

basic journal entry, as liability is recognized, and plan is funded:

Pension Expense xx

Pension Asset/Liability xx / xx

Cash xx

Note: the recognition of liability is determined by the recognition of expense; the net effect may be a pension asset, only if the funding is greater than the expense.

Pensions - continued

Defined benefit plan and sfas 87

SFAS 87 measures 3 different levels of pension obligation:

Vested benefit obligation: for vested employees at current salaries.

Accumulated benefit obligation (ABO): for all employees at current salaries.

Projected benefit obligation (PBO): for all employees at future salaries.

PBO is most conservative, and used for most calculations (including our exercises).

SFAS 87 also measures the fair value of plan assets (FVPA) to indicate the amount of assets accumulated to meet the PBO.

Defined Benefit Plan and SFAS 87

Compromises in sfas 87

Prior to SFAS 87, most companies were recognizing expense only as they funded the plan (and no future asset or liability):

Pension expense x

Cash x

FASB initially wanted companies to recognize the difference between PBO and FVPA as the net asset or liability of the plan.

If PBO greater, then company has a net liability (underfunded).

IF FVPA greater, then the company has a net asset (overfunded).

Compromises in SFAS 87

Compromises in sfas 871

At the time of the proposal, most companies were significantly underfunded.

Corporations and CPA firms lobbied the FASB, saying that, if they had to recognize the full liability, the effect would be disastrous:

they would violate existing debt covenants.

they would be unable to get additional funding.

the extra expense would make the income statement look terrible.

they would be driven out of business.

they would eliminate all defined benefit plans.

Compromises in SFAS 87

Compromises in sfas 872

The FASB backed down, and created several techniques to significantly underfunded.smooth the recognition of liability and expense over time.

Amortization of “transition amount”: allowed companies to recognize a portion of their initial liability over 15-20 years (now fully amortized for most companies).

Amortization of “prior service costs”: allowed companies to recognize, over future service years of employees (using technique similar to sum-of-the-years’-digits), the effect of plan adoptions or amendments.

Amortization of net gains/losses on change in estimates relating to PBO and FVPA. Most of these gains and losses are never recognized.

Compromises in SFAS 87

Components of pension expense in sfas 87

Pension expense is calculated with the following components: significantly underfunded.

1. Service cost (SC) - present value of new benefits, as calculated by actuary.(+)

2. Interest cost - current period’s estimated interest on the PBO.(+)

3. Expected return on plan assets - expected income from plan assets this year.(-)

4. Amortization of unrecognized PSC - usually an additional cost, which leads to additional expense. (+)

5. Amortization of unrecognized net G/L - more expense if amortizing loss; opposite for gain.(+/-)

6. Amortization of transition amount (no longer included in most disclosures). More expense if liability. (+/-)

Components of Pension Expense in SFAS 87

Explanation of unrecognized net g l

Given the following example: assume that the total unrecognized net gain (for the calculation of pension expense) is $251,000.

FASB applies a corridor to this amount to find the amount subject to amortization. The corridor (a “protected range”) is found by taking the greater of PBO or FVPA, then multiplying that amount by 10% (an arbitrary amount).

Explanation of Unrecognized Net G/L

Explanation of unrecognized net g l1

Assume that the UNG/L is $251,000 unrecognized net gain (for the calculation of pension expense) is $251,000.

Assume that PBO = $1,879,000

Assume that FVPA = $1,165,000

Therefore, the corridor limit is +/- $187,900

(10% of greater amount of 1,879,000).

Anything inside this corridor remains unamortized.

Anything outside this corridor is “subject to amortization.”

FASB applies an additional level of smoothing by amortizing only a portion of the G/L subject to amortization (usually based on remaining years of service).

The rest of the G/L goes back into the “pool”.

Explanation of Unrecognized Net G/L

Illustration of corridor approach

251,000 gain unrecognized net gain (for the calculation of pension expense) is $251,000.




Excess subject to recognition = 251,000 - 187,900 = 63,100.

FASB smoothes again by allowing only a portion of the 63,100 to be recognized (usually based on remaining years of service). In this example, only 1/10th is recognized, or $6,310 gain. The rest of the gain (251,000 - 6,310) remains unrecognized, and is carried forward and added to the calculation of future unrecognized gains and losses.

Illustration of Corridor Approach

}63,100 excess

Effect of sfas 158

A new standard, SFAS 158 is now in effect for companies whose fiscal year begins after December 15, 2006.

This standard solves one of the problems with SFAS 87 - the full recognition in the financials of the funded status.

However, for the income statement, the FASB chose to continue the non-recognition of full amounts of actuarial gains and losses and prior service costs, thus minimizing the effect on the income statement through pension expense.

Effect of SFAS 158

Effect of sfas 1581

These amounts (the unamortized portions) are recognized instead through “Other Comprehensive Income” or OCI, and the detail is disclosed in the Statement of Stockholders’ Equity.

As new Prior Service Cost or Gains/Losses on estimates are incurred, they are recognized in the Pension Asset/Liability account, but the offset is to OCI.

For gains, the entry would be:

Pension Asset/Liability x

Other Comprehensive Inc. x

For PSC and Losses, the entry would be:

Other Comprehensive Inc. x

Pension Asset/Liability x

(We will do one summary entry for all OCI effects.)

Effect of SFAS 158

Pension reconciliation schedule

The reconciliation schedule is found in the notes to the financial statements, and it contains all of the summary information regarding the “true” asset or liability.

The remainder of the information regarding the unrecognized amounts is found in the OCI section of the Statement of Stockholders’ Equity.

Pension Reconciliation Schedule