IRS Creates Coronavirus Website
The IRS has created a new website, http://www.irs.gov/coronavirus, that it says is “focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses, and others affected by the coronavirus [COVID-19].”
As of press time, this page contained:
- References to IR 2020-54, 3/11/2020, and Notice 2020-15, 2020-14 IRB, which provide information regarding high-deductible health plans and coronavirus costs; and
- References to other IRS websites relevant to returns and tax payments, e.g., the IRS Free File website.
The IRS has indicated that this new website will be updated as new information is available.
FASB Postpones Lease Accounting Roundtable Discussion to May 18
Amid massive school closings and business workarounds because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak nationwide, FASB has postponed its lease accounting roundtable from April 9 to May 18. The roundtable is being postponed “out of an abundance of caution,” a FASB spokesperson said on March 13. FASB said observers who previously registered for the April discussion must reregister for the revised May date. The panel discussion is being held to enable the board to get more insight about the implementation experiences of public companies in adopting Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842). The standard requires companies to—for the first time—bring on to the–balance sheet the full magnitude of long-term lease obligations previously reported only in note disclosures. Public companies adopted the rules in 2019; private companies must adopt them by 2021
FASB Issues New Rules to Stem Impact of Libor Expiration on U.S. Companies
On March 12, FASB published new rules to provide an easier, more cost-efficient way for companies to modify contracts that reference the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and other rates that are being phased out. The rule changes take effect immediately and expire on December 21, 2022. Rate reform affects trillions of dollars in loans, derivatives, and other financial contracts. “This new ASU provides stakeholders with the guidance they need to ease the process of migrating away from LIBOR and other interbank offered rates to new reference rates,” FASB Chairman Russell Golden said in a statement. “It addresses operational challenges stakeholders raised with the Board and will help simplify matters going forward. At the same time, the new guidance will also help reduce transition-related costs.” Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2020-04 eases the path for companies navigating rate reform because it: 1) allows eligible contracts that are modified to be accounted for as a continuation of those contracts, a simplification that eliminates the need for companies to reassess or remeasure the contracts for accounting purposes; 2) permits companies to preserve their hedge accounting during the transition period; and 3) enables companies to make a one-time election to transfer or sell held-to-maturity debt securities that are affected by rate reform.
IFRS Foundation Prescreening Observers to Board Meetings over Coronavirus Concerns
On March 11, the IASB Foundation announced that observers who plan to attend IASB’s upcoming standards-setting meetings need to preconfirm before arrival that they have not been to a category 1 or 2 coronavirus (COVID-19) hotspot for the past 14 days, and have not experienced any flu-like symptoms in the past seven days. The board will meet March 17–19 at its headquarters in London to discuss some of its more critical projects. These include pending amendments to IFRS 17, Insurance Contracts, amendments to accounting rules because of the phase-out of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and other rates, disclosures for subsidiaries that are small and medium-sized entities (SME), financial instruments with characteristics of equity, and other topics.