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Additional info for Accountants’ handbook. Special Industries and Special Topics
G) ACCOUNTING FOR THE IMPAIRMENT OF LONG-LIVED ASSETS. SFAS No. 121, “Accounting for the Impairment of Long-Lived Assets and Long-Lived Assets to Be Disposed Of,” provided definitive guidance on when the carrying amount of long-lived assets should be reviewed for impairment. Long-lived assets of a mining company, for example, plant and equipment and capitalized development costs, should be reviewed for recoverability when events or changes in circumstances indicate that carrying amounts may not be recoverable.
30 · 4 REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION The two primary concerns under SFAS No. 66 are: 1. Has a sale occurred? 2. Under what method and when should profit be recognized? The concerns are answered by determining the buyer’s initial and continuing investment and the nature and extent of the seller’s continuing involvement. The guidelines used in determining these criteria are complex and, within certain provisions, arbitrary. Companies dealing with these types of transactions are often faced with the difficult task of analyzing the exact nature of a transaction in order to determine the appropriate accounting approach.
The following information is for all real estate sales other than retail land sales. To determine whether profit recognition is appropriate, a test must first be made to determine whether a sale may be recorded. Then additional tests are made related to the buyer’s investment and the seller’s continued involvement. Generally, real estate sales should not be recorded prior to closing. Since an exchange is generally required to recognize profit, a sale must be consummated. A sale is consummated when all the following conditions have been met: • The parties are bound by the terms of a contract.