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Section 17 – Property, Plant and Equipment


Section 17 deals with the initial recognition, subsequent measurement, depreciation and impairment for property, plant and equipment (PPE) held for use in the production, or supply of goods and services, for rental to others or administrative purposes. All items of PPE are expected to be used during more than one period.

What is new?

Under section 17.5, spare parts are classified as property plant and equipment when they are expected to be used during more than one period or only used in connection with an item of property plant and equipment. Previously there was no specific reference under FRS 15 (old GAAP) so spare parts were classified as either inventories or property, plant and equipment on an entity by entity basis. This will result in a change where previously such spare parts were classified as inventory under old GAAP, they now need to be classified net of depreciation at the date of transition.

Section 17.6, 17.16 and section 17.17 requires capitalisation of the replacement part and de-recognition of the carrying amount of those parts that are replaced which is in contrast to FRS 15 (old GAAP). FRS 15 made it clear that the cost of replacement is only capitalised if previously separately identified and depreciated, otherwise subsequent expenses are expensed. Under FRS 15 assets were only identified in separate components depended on whether the useful life of the component was substantially different, from the remainder, the degree of irregularity in the level of expenditures to restate the component or asset in different accounting periods.

Investment property whose value cannot be measured without undue cost or effort is disclosed within PPE. Previously under FRS 15 this would never have occurred as this would have been shown as an Investment property. (See section 16 of the guide for further details.)

What is different?

No specific guidance on the classification of computer software within  Section 17, however, in these situations it is usually appropriate to look to IFRS and under IFRS these assets are disclosed as intangible assets, therefore this would be seen to be the most appropriate classification. In contrast, FRS 15 (old GAAP) specifically stated that computer software was to be included in tangible fixed assets.

Section 17.15B states where a policy of revaluation has been adopted, then the revaluations should be made with sufficient regularity to ensure the carrying amount does not differ materially from that which would be determined to be fair value at the end of the reporting period.  The standard does not mandate a professional valuer to be used, however, it does state that it would be usual for one to be used. This compares to FRS 15, where it mandated that a full revaluation be required by a qualified valuer at least every 5 years and an interim valuation in year 3.

While transitioning to FRS 102, when deciding the element of the asset to derecognise, guidance in IFRS is sought which would say where it is impractical to identify the carrying amount then the cost of the replacement part can be used as an indication of the cost of the replaced part when the item was acquired.

Section 17 has no specific requirement to perform a mandatory impairment review for assets where the remaining useful life exceeds 50 years as was required under FRS 15 (old GAAP).

There is a requirement to reassess the residual values where indicators are present as per section 17.19 whereas under FRS 15 the residual values were determined at the date of acquisition and there was no need to change these. This could result in previous depreciation being backed out if the residual values increase or vice versa.

Where an asset is purchased on abnormal credit terms section 17, requires that this be present valued. There was no specific guidance under FRS 15.

If a policy of non-depreciation is adopted on transition where under old GAAP a revaluation reserve existed, then under Section 17, this revaluation reserve will need to be transferred to profit and loss reserves (however, it is non-distributable) or to a non-distributable reserve.

The fair value for land and buildings should be the market value whereas under old GAAP, existing use value was to be used. This may result in differences if the market value differs.

Other standards impacting property, plant and equipment where differences arise:

Section 29 – Income tax – Section 29 requires deferred tax to be recognised on the difference between the fair value to be included in the financial statements for revalued property, plant and equipment and the base cost for tax purposes. The tax rate used is the tax rate enacted or substantively enacted at the balance sheet date for capital disposals where it is not depreciated. This deferred tax and movement year on year is posted to the revaluation reserve.

This is in addition to any deferred tax already recognised under old GAAP for differences between the carrying amount of these assets which were allowable for capital allowances purposes and the tax written down value.

Section 16 – Investment properties – Ability for investment properties to be shown under PPE if the fair value cannot be measured without undue cost or effort which was not the case under old GAAP.

Section 16 – Investment properties – Property rented to group companies can be classified as investment property. See Section 16 of this guide for details.

Section 35 – Transition to FRS 102 – Section 35.10 deals with transition exemptions. An exemption is available to allow a first time adopter to elect to use a previous GAAP revaluation at or before the date of transition as its deemed cost or alternatively to using fair value as determined at the date of transition at deemed cost. Note this would also apply to plant and machinery which is fully written down due to the useful life of the asset being reassessed (e.g. if plant and machinery had a nil NBV but the fair value at transition was higher, then the entity can state these at fair value on transition assuming there was not an error in the prior year useful life under old GAAP instead it was due to a reassessment of economic lives).

Section 35 – Transition to FRS 102 – Where in the past an entity has not recognised the cost of dismantling, removing and restoring a site to its original condition the entity instead of including the cost on transition at the date the liability arose can elect to show this cost at the date of transition to FRS 102. Given that under old GAAP this liability should have been accounted for in the first place, it will be unusual for this exemption to be hugely beneficial.

Section 10 – Accounting policies – A change from a historical cost model to a revaluation model is a period change and not a change in accounting policy and therefore is to be treated prospectively whereas under FRS 15 this was considered a change in accounting policy.

What are the key points?
  • PPE are tangible assets that:
  1. Are held for use in the production or supply of good or services, for rental to others or for administrative purposes; and
  2. Are expected to be used during more than one period.
  • Policy choice to recognise PPE at cost or revaluation (Section 17.2) using the fair -value model;
  • Where a policy of revaluation is taken, then a revaluation must be performed on regular intervals so that the carrying amount stated does not materially differ from the fair value at the reporting date;
  • Movement as a result of a revaluation is posted to other comprehensive income and to the revaluation reserve together with the deferred tax movement. Where the revaluation decrease is in excess of previous revaluation gains posted, the excess is posted to the profit and loss account;
  • A reversal of a prior period downward revaluation due to an uplift in subsequent years which was posted to the profit and loss cannot be reversed above what the depreciation would have been charged if no devaluation had occurred;
  • Deferred tax to be recognised on the uplift where a revaluation policy is adopted;
  • Depreciation method and residual value utilised to be reviewed only when there are indicators of change;
  • Depreciation methods that can be used are: the straight line, the sum of the digits, the reducing balancing method or a method based on usage. The one which reflects the usage of the economic benefits should be used;
  • Spare parts which are used in more than one period or for PPE should be capitalised as fixed assets;
  • Where a requirement to dismantle, remove and restore a site to its original condition the present value cost should be included in PPE and depreciated up to the date on which the liability crystallises;
  • Qualifying borrowing costs can be capitalised within property, plant and equipment (optional);
  • A change from an historic cost model to a revaluation model although a policy change is treated prospectively rather than as a prior period change;
  • A change in residual value, useful life or depreciation method is a change in estimate and should be adjusted prospectively with the effect of the change given on the current and future period; and
  • Where a fair value choice is chosen, the fair value of land and buildings is the market value. For all assets where no market based evidence of fair value (as item is rarely sold), depreciated replacement cost may be used/estimated.
What do accountants need to do?

Get to grips with the new accounting standard and review PPE on hand at the date of transition.

Review their client portfolio to assess the companies impacted by the changes (e.g. manufacturing companies) and discuss with their clients to determine the impact on a case by case basis on the new requirements with regard to spare parts and capitalisation.

Advise clients of the one off possibility to incorporate the fair value at its deemed cost balance sheet so as to bolster the entity’s balance sheet as Section 35 allows the entity to take the fair value at date of transition as the deemed cost. No further revaluations are required where a cost model is chosen on the date of transition.

Advise clients of the choice in accounting policy to use either the cost model or the revaluation model or alternatively to use the deemed cost exemption in Section 35. However, there is a need to consider whether capitalisation will affect the entity’s ability to claim audit exemption and the small entity exemptions as this may result in the gross assets being pushed over the small entity threshold.

Advise clients of the need to review residual values and useful lives if impairment indicators exist.

What do companies need to do?

Understand the differences between old GAAP and section 17 of FRS 102.

Quantify the effect on distributable profits as a result of the transition adjustments required to adopt this standard if applicable e.g. depreciation on spare parts going forward.

Consider whether covenants on loans will be affected as a result of the new requirements e.g. spare parts moving from inventory to property, plant and equipment.

Assess whether it is worthwhile to use the fair value as deemed cost as a one off opportunity to bolster the balance sheet.