Exchanges of nonmonetary assets Until late 2004, the rules according to APB Opinion No. 29 for recording exchanges of nonmonetary assets depended on whether they were exchanges of dissimilar assets such as a truck for a machine or were similar assets such as a truck for a truck. If the exchange classified as an exchange of dissimilar assets, the acquired asset would be recorded at its fair value and any gain or loss would be recognized. In late 2004, the FASB issued a new standard, Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 153, “Exchanges of Nonoperating Assets: an amendment of APB Opinion No. 29″. This new standard was issued to bring about greater agreement between US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and International Financial Reporting Standards and is effective for exchanges occurring during fiscal periods beginning after 2005 June 15.
This change allows the financial statements of US companies to be more comparable to the financial statements of companies utilizing International Financial Reporting Standards.
The new FASB standard no longer distinguishes between dissimilar and similar asset exchanges. Instead it differentiates between exchanges that have commercial substance and those that do not have commercial substance. An exchange has commercial substance if, as a result of the exchange, future cash flows are expected to change significantly. For instance, if a company exchanges a building for land (a dissimilar exchange), the timing and the future cash flows are likely to be different than if the exchange had not occurred. Most exchanges qualify as having commercial substance. However, if the exchange is not expected to create a significant change in future cash flows, the exchange does not result in commercial substance. For example, if a company exchanges one truck for another truck (a similar exchange) that will perform the same function as the old truck and for the same time period so that the future cash flows are not significantly different, then the exchange does not result in commercial substance. However, if the future cash flows are likely to be significantly different, then the exchange of similar assets has commercial substance.
Watch this video to explain the concepts: