Summary of Statement No. 153

Exchanges of Nonmonetary Assets—an amendment of APB Opinion No. 29


The guidance in APB Opinion No. 29, Accounting for Nonmonetary Transactions, is based on the principle that exchanges of nonmonetary assets should be measured based on the fair value of the assets exchanged. The guidance in that Opinion, however, included certain exceptions to that principle. This Statement amends Opinion 29 to eliminate the exception for nonmonetary exchanges of similar productive assets and replaces it with a general exception for exchanges of nonmonetary assets that do not have commercial substance. A nonmonetary exchange has commercial substance if the future cash flows of the entity are expected to change significantly as a result of the exchange.

Reasons for Issuing This Statement

This Statement is the result of a broader effort by the FASB to improve the comparability of cross-border financial reporting by working with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) toward development of a single set of high-quality accounting standards. As part of that effort, the FASB and the IASB identified opportunities to improve financial reporting by eliminating certain narrow differences between their existing accounting standards. The accounting for nonmonetary exchanges was identified as an area in which the U.S. standard could be improved by eliminating certain differences between the measurement guidance in Opinion 29 and that in IAS 16, Property, Plant and Equipment, and IAS 38, Intangible Assets.

How the Changes in This Statement Improve Financial Reporting

Opinion 29 provided an exception to the basic measurement principle (fair value) for exchanges of similar productive assets. That exception required that some nonmonetary exchanges, although commercially substantive, be recorded on a carryover basis. This Statement eliminates the exception to fair value for exchanges of similar productive assets and replaces it with a general exception for exchange transactions that do not have commercial substance—that is, transactions that are not expected to result in significant changes in the cash flows of the reporting entity. By focusing the exception on exchanges that lack commercial substance, the Board believes this Statement produces financial reporting that more faithfully represents the economics of the transactions. Moreover, in making that amendment, the Board decided to use language that is similar to that used in IAS 16, noting that doing so would promote more consistent application of the requirements of those standards.