The International Accounting Standards Board has issued amendments to its rules for companies adopting International Financial Reporting Standards for the first time to allow some exemptions.

The amendments to IFRS 1 address the retrospective application of IFRS to particular situations and are aimed at ensuring that entities applying IFRS will not face undue cost or effort in the transition process. The SEC is currently considering a proposed roadmap for gradually adopting IFRS over the next several years.

The amendments exempt entities using the full-cost method from retrospective application of IFRS for oil and gas assets, and exempt entities with existing leasing contracts from re-assessing the classification of those contracts in accordance with IFRIC 4, “Determining Whether an Arrangement Contains a Lease,” when the application of their national accounting requirements produced the same result.

The IASB completed the amendments after considering the responses to an exposure draft published in September 2008.  A large majority of respondents supported the proposals. The exposure draft also contained proposals relating to activities subject to rate regulation.The IASB decided that those proposals, revised as a result of comments received, should be included in the exposure draft “Rate-Regulated Activities,” which the IASB  also published Thursday.

The proposals for rate-regulated activities apply to companies such as utilities whose electricity rates are subject to regulation. The objective of the proposals is to establish how assets and liabilities resulting from rate-regulated activities should be recognized and measured under IFRS.  If adopted, the proposed standard would define regulatory assets and regulatory liabilities, set out criteria for their recognition, specify how they should be measured, and require disclosures about their financial effects.

The proposals in the exposure draft are open for comment until Nov. 20.

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