FASB Issues Guidance on Simplifying Income Statement Presentation by Eliminating the Concept of Extraordinary Items

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2015-01, Simplifying Income Statement Presentation by Eliminating the Concept of Extraordinary Items.

Subtopic 225-20, Income Statement—Extraordinary and Unusual Items, required that an entity separately classify, present and disclose extraordinary events and transactions. Presently, an event or transaction is presumed to be an ordinary and usual activity of the reporting entity unless evidence clearly supports its classification as an extraordinary item.

Eliminating the concept of extraordinary items will save time and reduce costs for preparers because they will not have to assess whether a particular event or transaction event is extraordinary (even if they ultimately would conclude it is not). This also alleviates uncertainty for preparers, auditors and regulators because auditors and regulators no longer will need to evaluate whether a preparer treated an unusual and/or infrequent item appropriately.

The Board concluded that the amendments in this Update will not result in a loss of information because although the amendments will eliminate the requirements in Subtopic 225-20 for reporting entities to consider whether an underlying event or transaction is extraordinary, the presentation and disclosure guidance for items that are unusual in nature or occur infrequently will be retained and expanded to include items that are  both unusual in nature and infrequently occurring. 

The amendments in this Update are effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2015. A reporting entity may apply the amendments prospectively. A reporting entity also may apply the amendments retrospectively to all prior periods presented in the financial statements. Early adoption is permitted provided that the guidance is applied from the beginning of the fiscal year of adoption. The effective date is the same for both public business entities and all other entities.

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