What are the disclosure requirements for leases in financial statements?

Lease accounting mandates disclosures for both operating and finance leases. Companies must outline lease commitments, future lease payments, lease terms, and the nature of leased assets. Under standards like ASC 842 or IFRS 16, disclosures differentiate between finance and operating leases, impacting balance sheets and income statements.

The disclosure requirements for leases in financial statements, governed by accounting standards like ASC 842 (in the U.S.) or IFRS 16 (internationally), mandate detailed disclosures to provide transparency regarding a company's leasing activities. These requirements include:

  1. Nature and Extent of Leases:

    • Description of lease arrangements, including lease types (operating or finance leases), lease terms, and renewal or termination options.
  2. Lease Obligations:

    • Total lease liabilities recognized on the balance sheet for both current and non-current portions.
    • Breakdown of lease liabilities by lease type and a maturity analysis of future lease payments.
  3. Right-of-Use Assets:

    • Total right-of-use assets recognized on the balance sheet, possibly categorized by lease type.
  4. Lease Expense Recognition:

    • Total lease expense recognized during the reporting period, including the breakdown between interest expense on lease liabilities and amortization of right-of-use assets.
  5. Variable Lease Payments:

    • Disclosure of the existence of significant variable lease payments not included in the lease liability and how they are determined.
  6. Discount Rate:

    • Explanation of how the discount rate for lease liabilities was determined, whether it's the company's incremental borrowing rate or the implicit rate in the lease, and any significant judgments or assumptions made.
  7. Lease Modifications and Remeasurements:

    • Disclosure of significant changes in lease terms, such as modifications or reassessments, and their impact on lease assets and liabilities.
  8. Practical Expedients and Exemptions:

    • Explanation of any practical expedients or exemptions applied in implementing the lease accounting standards.
  9. Narrative Disclosures:

    • Qualitative information explaining the company's leasing strategy, significant leasing arrangements, how leases are used in its operations, and any risks associated with these arrangements.
  10. Transition Disclosures:

  • Additional disclosures during the initial adoption of the new lease accounting standards, including the impact on financial statements and key financial metrics.

These disclosures aim to provide users of financial statements with a clear understanding of a company's lease obligations, their impact on financial statements, and the associated risks and commitments. Compliance with these requirements ensures transparency and facilitates comparison between companies' lease-related financial reporting.

Understanding Lease Accounting Disclosure Criteria.

Understanding Lease Accounting Disclosure Criteria

Lease accounting disclosure criteria are crucial for providing transparency and understanding the impact of leases on a company's financial statements. Several accounting standards, including ASC 842 in the US and IFRS 16 internationally, dictate the required disclosures for lessees.

Key Disclosure Requirements:

The specific disclosure requirements may differ slightly between accounting standards, but they generally cover the following key areas:

  • General Description of Leases: This includes the nature of the leases, lease terms, and any significant lease concentrations.
  • Classification of Leases: The company must disclose the classification of leases as finance leases or operating leases.
  • Lease Payment Disclosures: The company must disclose the total lease payments due over the lease term, separating principal and interest components for finance leases.
  • Lease Expense Recognition: The company must disclose the recognized lease expense for each period, categorized by operating and finance leases.
  • Right-of-Use Assets and Lease Liabilities: The company must disclose the carrying amount of right-of-use assets and lease liabilities on the balance sheet.
  • Contingent Rent: The company must disclose any contingent rent obligations and the expected future lease payments.
  • Subleases: The company must disclose any subleases and their impact on financial statements.
  • Off-Balance Sheet Leases: The company must disclose certain information about leases that are not recognized on the balance sheet under certain circumstances.
  • Future Minimum Lease Payments: The company must disclose the future minimum lease payments by year for the next five years and in total for the remaining lease term.

Objectives of Lease Accounting Disclosures:

The main objectives of lease accounting disclosures are to:

  • Provide transparency: Disclosures enable users of financial statements to understand the nature and extent of a company's lease obligations.
  • Enhance comparability: Consistent disclosure practices facilitate comparison of lease-related information across different companies and over time.
  • Facilitate informed decision-making: Disclosures equip investors, creditors, and other stakeholders with the necessary information to assess the impact of leases on the company's financial performance and position.

Examples of Additional Disclosures:

Beyond the minimum required disclosures, companies may choose to provide additional information for further transparency, such as:

  • Lease concentration by property type or geographic location
  • Lease maturities
  • Expected future lease costs
  • Lease-related impairment losses
  • Sensitivity analysis for changes in key assumptions

Importance of Effective Lease Accounting Disclosures:

Effective lease accounting disclosures are essential for ensuring accurate and transparent financial reporting. This transparency is crucial for maintaining investor confidence, facilitating access to capital, and promoting fair and efficient markets.


Understanding and adhering to lease accounting disclosure criteria is vital for companies to present a clear picture of their lease obligations. By providing comprehensive and transparent disclosures, companies can enhance the reliability and usefulness of their financial statements and promote informed decision-making by stakeholders.