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The IFRS Interpretations Committee (Committee) discussed the following matter and tentatively decided not to add a standard-setting project to the work plan. The Committee will reconsider this tentative decision, including the reasons for not adding a standard-setting project, at a future meeting. The Committee invites comments on the tentative agenda decision. All comments will be on the public record and posted on our website unless a respondent requests confidentiality and we grant that request. We do not normally grant such requests unless they are supported by good reason, for example, commercial confidence. 

Tentative Agenda Decision

The Committee received a request about the recognition of cash received via an electronic transfer system as settlement for a financial asset. In the fact pattern described in the request:

  1. the electronic transfer system has an automated settlement process that takes three working days to settle a cash transfer. All cash transfers made via the system are therefore settled (deposited in the recipient’s bank account) two working days after they are initiated by the payer.
  2. an entity has a trade receivable with a customer. At the entity’s reporting date, the customer has initiated a cash transfer via the electronic transfer system to settle the trade receivable. The entity receives the cash in its bank account two days after its reporting date.

The request asked whether the entity can derecognise the trade receivable and recognise cash on the date the cash transfer is initiated (its reporting date), rather than on the date the cash transfer is settled (after its reporting date).

The applicable requirements in IFRS 9

The fact pattern described in the request involves the receipt of cash as settlement for a trade receivable. Both the trade receivable, and the cash the entity receives, are financial assets within the scope of IFRS 9. The entity therefore applies paragraph 3.2.3 of IFRS 9 in determining the date on which to derecognise the trade receivable and paragraph 3.1.1 of IFRS 9 in determining the date on which to recognise the cash as a financial asset.

The Committee observed that, in the fact pattern described in the request, the entity is neither purchasing nor selling a financial asset. Therefore, paragraph 3.1.2 of IFRS 9—which specifies requirements for a regular way purchase or sale of a financial asset—is not applicable.

Derecognition of the trade receivable

Except when an entity transfers a financial asset, paragraph 3.2.3 of IFRS 9 requires an entity to derecognise a financial asset when, and only when, ‘the contractual rights to the cash flows from the financial asset expire’. In the fact pattern described in the request, the entity therefore derecognises the trade receivable on the date on which its contractual rights to the cash flows from the trade receivable expire.

Determining the date on which the entity’s contractual rights to those cash flows expire is a legal matter, which would depend on the specific facts and circumstances including the applicable laws and regulations and the characteristics of the electronic transfer system. In the fact pattern described in the request, if the entity’s contractual right to receive cash from the customer expires only when the cash is received, the entity would derecognise the trade receivable on the transfer settlement date (the date it receives the cash in its bank account).

Recognition of cash (or another financial asset)

Paragraph 3.1.1 of IFRS 9 requires an entity to recognise a financial asset when, and only when, ‘the entity becomes party to the contractual provisions of the instrument’. In the fact pattern described in the request, the entity is party to the contractual provisions of an instrument—its bank account—under which it has the contractual right to obtain cash from the bank for amounts it has deposited with that bank. In the fact pattern described in the request, it is therefore only when cash is deposited in its bank account that the entity would have a right to obtain cash from the bank. Consequently, the entity recognises cash as a financial asset on the transfer settlement date, and not before.

The Committee observed that, if an entity’s contractual rights to the cash flows from the trade receivable expire before the transfer settlement date, the entity would recognise any financial asset received as settlement for the trade receivable (for example, a right to receive cash from the customer’s bank) on that same date. An entity would not however recognise cash (or another financial asset) received as settlement for a trade receivable before it derecognises the trade receivable.

Conclusion

In the fact pattern described in the request, the Committee concluded that, applying paragraphs 3.2.3 and 3.1.1 of IFRS 9, the entity:

  1. derecognises the trade receivable on the date on which its contractual rights to the cash flows from the trade receivable expire; and
  2. recognises the cash (or another financial asset) received as settlement for that trade receivable on the same date.

The Committee concluded that the principles and requirements in IFRS Standards provide an adequate basis for an entity to determine when to derecognise a trade receivable and recognise cash received via an electronic transfer system as settlement for that receivable. Consequently, the Committee [decided] not to add a standard-setting project to the work plan.

The deadline for commenting on the tentative agenda decision is 25 November 2021. The Committee will consider all comments received in writing by that date; agenda papers analysing comments received will include analysis only of comments received by that date. 

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