Tax considerations for Early Lease Terminations Due to Transitions to a Remote Workplace

10 Min Read

accounting for lease termination payments

If the tenant never had a lease, or had a lease but you collected rent after it ended you must give the tenant a Notice of Termination. If you want to evict a tenant who did something not allowed by the lease, you must give the tenant a Notice to Cure before you can serve a Notice of Termination. Under IFRS 16, all lessee leases are classified as finance leases, which will not require lessees to perform any analysis of the five criteria outlined above. The FASB continues to evaluate stakeholder feedback on the adoption of ASC 842. Stay tuned for future refinements in accounting standard setting as a result of these initiatives. A licensee is someone that the tenant invited to live in the home without your permission.

How to Account for a Lease Termination including Partial Lease Terminations under ASC 842

If a lease provides that the tenant’s security deposit is not to be applied to rent, it nevertheless becomes income to the landlord if and when the landlord’s obligation to return it to the tenant, in whole or in part, ceases to be contingent. Tax practitioners are likely familiar with the 12-month rule in the context of prepaid expenses. Applying this rule to lease termination payments can provide some clarity in otherwise gray areas and potentially allow for planning opportunities. After calculating the modified lease liability, the lessee should adjust the right-of-use asset value by a proportionate amount.

accounting for lease termination payments

1 Modification and remeasurement of a lease overview

This article presents information on terminations, specifically partial terminations. It also provides a step-by-step guide on how to remeasure both the lease liability and lease asset under ASC 842 and IFRS 16 when the rights of the original lease accounting for lease termination payments are partially terminated. For more information regarding terminations, please refer to the following article. Under ASC 842 a lease that ends due to the lessee purchasing the underlying asset from the lessor does not constitute a lease termination.

Try LeaseGuru for free for ASC 842 & IFRS 16 compliance

  • If a lease termination penalty is applicable and not previously included in the calculation of lease payments, the lessee will factor such penalty into the gain or loss calculation.
  • However, when accounting for a partial termination, both the lease liability and ROU asset must be remeasured as of the modification date.
  • Many lease agreements may include an option for either lessees or lessors to terminate the agreement prior to the end of the original lease term.
  • The regulations under Sec. 167 provide that an intangible asset may be depreciated if it is known to be of use in the business or production of income for a limited period and that period can be estimated with reasonable accuracy.
  • Examples of when you use this Notice are if the tenant has a pet, or a washing machine that you did not agree to, or the tenant is too loud all the time.
  • However, at the start of year three, Wigwam no longer requires the machine and immediately terminates the lease due to a new way of manufacturing.

The length of time you should keep a document depends on the action, expense, or event the document records. Generally, you must keep your records that support an item of income or deductions on a tax return until the period of limitations for that return runs out. In addition to these general guidelines, each business should consider any industry standards which may affect the holding period of records due to the unusual legal circumstances.

5 Accounting for a lease termination – lessee

In this blog post, we will break down the complexities of termination accounting under ASC 842 and provide practical considerations and best practices for accounting for partial lease terminations. When there is a reduction in the lease term, the lessee remeasures the lease liability based on the future lease payments; the balancing journal entry goes to the right of use asset. The IASB decided that under IFRS 16, a reduction in the lease term does warrant a gain/loss calculation. Simply derecognize the lease liability and ROU asset and recognize any differences in gain or loss.

Please Sign in to set this content as a favorite.

accounting for lease termination payments

At the start of year two, Curve renegotiates the contract to lease only two of the factories. The lessee would update the lease liability and right of use asset based of the future cash flows at a point in time. Like many aspects of lease accounting on face value, the accounting appears straightforward. When a lease has been terminated in its entirety, the lessee should no longer recognize a right of use asset and a lease liability. Rather than making a significant payment to a landlord to cancel a lease, tenants may be inclined to sell or sublease their lease to another lessee. This would first be predicated by a lease agreement permitting such sale/sublease or a landlord otherwise agreeing to it.

We want to make accountants’ lives easier by leveraging technology to free up their time to focus on running the business. You can set the default content filter to expand search across territories. These materials were downloaded from PwC’s Viewpoint ( under license.

The former scenario results in an ordinary loss whereas the income or loss from a sale may be capital gain or loss. Furthermore, the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) provides that gain or loss attributable to the cancellation or termination of a right with respect to property which is a capital asset in the hands of a taxpayer is treated as a capital gain or loss. In order for a lease cancellation payment to fall under this provision, the real property would need to be a capital asset in the hands of the landlord and not an asset used in a trade or business (i.e., it could not be IRC Sec. 1231 property).

Partial termination

A gain/loss calculation is required when there is a reduction in the right of use asset. For example, a landlord may have prepared space for the vacating tenant such as installing wall partitions. In order to get the property ready for a new tenant, the landlord may need to dispose of those prior improvements. In this scenario, the landlord should generally be able to recognize a loss for any unrecovered basis in those prior improvements. It may be reasonable to use the general principle of “substance over form” and treat these as costs included in the general framework of lease termination payments. In Latter, the documents stated that the lessees were “willing to assign and transfer all their right, title and interest in their said existing lease.” The package from the lessor also included payments to reimburse the lessees for their improvements.

Remeasuring the Right-of-Use Asset Based on Change in Lease Liability

If an entity concludes an ROU asset is impaired, the entity adjusts the carrying amount of the ROU asset by the amount of the impairment. Subsequently, the ROU asset is amortized, usually on a straight-line basis, over the shorter of the lease term or the ROU asset’s useful life. While the lessee would continue to present a single lease cost line item in the income statement, the single lease cost will no longer be recognized on a straight-line basis. Assume a private company, Company L, enters into an operating lease agreement commencing on January 1, 2020 – the date the company plans to early adopt the new lease accounting standard. The agreement states that Company L will lease five floors of a building for office space at $6,000,000 per year increasing by 3% over a period of 10 years.

Share this Article
Leave a comment