Contingent liability Wikipedia

contingent liabilities

State-guaranteed bank lending schemes have been a key pillar of the pandemic fiscal support measures. Public guarantee envelopes amount to around 14% of GDP, with take-up of around 4% of GDP for the euro area on aggregate so far. The euro area aggregate masks considerable heterogeneity between countries in terms of both envelopes and take-up levels. One explanation could be that, instead of adhering to direct support measures, fiscally more constrained governments opted for more generous guarantee schemes which do not affect fiscal balances immediately (see Chart B, left panel). An obligation arises because of an obligating event and hence it follows that the obligating event must have occurred at, or by, the balance sheet date in order to give rise to a provision. The final criteria required is that there needs to be a probable outflow of economic resources.

The most common form of contingent liabilities in the EU countries is government guarantees on the liabilities, and occasionally, on the assets of third parties. In 2020 and 2021, government guarantees provided in the EU increased notably, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. IFRS 3 (2008) resulted from a joint project with the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and replaced IFRS 3 (2004). The revisions result in a high degree of convergence between IFRSs and US GAAP in the accounting for business combinations, although some potentially significant differences remain. To avoid this, the accountant may be tempted to make some provisions for some potential future expenses of $3m, with the impact of making the profit seem lower in the current period.

UK reduced disclosures – FRS 101

A notable level of state and/or local government guarantees can also be seen in Finland, Denmark, Sweden, France, Austria, Germany and Belgium. In some countries, the stock of government guarantees increased by as much as 11.2 percentage points (pp) of GDP between 2019 and 2021 (pre-COVID-19 to the end of 2021). Generally, guarantee growth decelerated in 2021 compared with 2020 (the first year of the pandemic).

One of these measures is for the CLCC to publish an annual report to summarise and analyse the stock of contingent liabilities across government. Assume that a company is facing a lawsuit from a rival firm for patent infringement. The company’s legal department thinks that the rival firm has a strong case, and the business estimates a $2 million loss if the firm loses the case.

Is contingent liability an actual liability?

This would be the case if the current assessment turns out to be too optimistic and PDs are closer to the market-based expected default frequencies during historical stress episodes and among vulnerable corporates. A company has made a provision for damages amounting to £10,000 in its financial statements for the year-ended 31 December 2016 in respect of a legal claim brought against the company by one of its customers. The legal advisers have advised the company that at the reporting date they are uncertain as to the potential outcome of the case. Contingent liabilities must be disclosed as such within the entity’s financial statements, unless the possibility of an outflow of economic resources is considered to be remote. So far, all of the items considered in this article have involved the provision being recorded as a liability with the debit being shown as an expense in the statement of profit or loss. The exception to this is if an entity creates an obligation for future costs due to the construction of a non-current asset.

Our licensed insolvency practitioners will take the time to understand the problems your company is facing before recommending the best course of action going forward based on your own unique circumstances. It will not be uncommon to take the $12m, thinking that the worst-case scenario should be provided for. Other candidates may calculate an expected value based on the various probabilities.

Key definitions

The reason is that the future occurrence of an event may or may not turn into a liability. By nature, contingent liabilities are uncertain and for a business, these are the future expenses or outflows that might occur. By providing for contingent liabilities, it gives an opportunity for businesses to asses and be prepared for the situation. In contrast to past crises, the recent pandemic-induced large-scale loan guarantee programmes constitute a novel source of contingent liabilities.

  • In addition to this, the expected timing of when the event should be resolved should also be included.
  • The legal advisors believe that there is an 80% chance that the counter claim against the manufacturer is likely to succeed, and believe that Rey Co would win $8m.
  • It can be seen here that Rey Co could only recognise an asset from a potential inflow if it is virtually certain.
  • However, IAS 37 is often a key standard in FR exams, and candidates must be prepared to wrestle with applying the criteria.

The IFRS Foundation is a not-for-profit, public interest organisation established to develop high-quality, understandable, enforceable and globally accepted accounting and sustainability disclosure standards. A warranty is considered contingent because the number of products that will be returned under a warranty is unknown. A warranty is another common contingent liability because the number of products returned under a warranty is unknown. Assume, for example, that a bike manufacturer offers a three-year warranty on bicycle seats, which cost $50 each. If the firm manufactures 1,000 bicycle seats in a year and offers a warranty per seat, the firm needs to estimate the number of seats that may be returned under warranty each year. An estimated liability is certain to occur—so, an amount is always entered into the accounts even if the precise amount is not known at the time of data entry.

What the new Consumer Duty Rules mean for accountants

Normally it is obvious when a company has a legal obligation (for example by way of agreement or a court order). Provisions can also be made for normal day-to-day transactions, such as a provision for goods and/or services received by the year-end but not yet invoiced, i.e. an accrual. In respect of provisions for liabilities, FRS 102 says that a ‘provision’ is a liability that Accounting for a Non-Profit Organization is of uncertain timing or amount. Rey Co constructed an oil platform in the sea on 1 January 20X8 at a cost of $150m. As part of obtaining permission to construct the platform, Rey Co has a legal obligation to remove the asset at the end of its useful life. By 31 December 20X9, when Rey Co is required to make the payment, the liability should be showing at $10m, not $9.09m.

contingent liabilities



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