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What Are IFRS Provisions?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) provisions are liabilities, or debts, where the amount and timing have not yet been fully defined. Overall, these are accepted by the person or organization in question with the belief that payment to cover the anticipated amount is forthcoming. This is determined by demonstrating payment probability, making a strong estimation of the liability amount, and proving that a past event or commitment has caused the current financial obligation.

In essence, IFRS provisions are uncertain situations in which an entity basically has no choice but to accept the liability. They are the result of obligations which can be difficult to avoid or control and for which there are limited methods of management. The liability amount and nature of IFRS provisions can vary, depending on the requirements of a particular situation.

To be recognized, IFRS provisions must have more than a 50% chance of being paid off. They need to be required expenses, usually due to either a previous contractual agreement or a legal issue. By the balance sheet date, provisions also must have a third party that is responsible for the liability.

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Some elements that affect the amount of IFRS provisions include the size, complexity, and expected date of fulfillment for an obligation. These factors are used to determine what conditions will be necessary in order to pay off the liability. They also show how these elements will contribute to costs such as taxes, legal fees, or other things related to the obligation which could increase the amount due.

In order to make an estimate for IFRS provisions, the best possible range of costs is determined. Then it is common for the amount in the middle of the range to be used as the provision amount. In most cases, provisions are discounted.

An IFRS provision must be readjusted on the balance sheet each period. The goal is to increase the accuracy of the estimated amount based on new information, changes in the situation, and anything else that could clarify status. It is also possible that a provision may need to be changed to income if outflow no longer appears possible.

Another type of IFRS provision is the contingent liability. This is a potential obligation based on a future event that is possible, but not certain. While these liabilities are disclosed, they are not officially recognized in financial statements. This kind of liability only needs to be disclosed if it is likely that the situation will lead to an economic benefit.

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