FRS 38 Intangible Assets – Summary

An intangible asset is recognised at cost if and only if:-

  1. the asset meets the definition of an intangible asset;
  2. it is probable that the expected future economic benefits that are attributable to the asset will flow to the entity; and
  3. the cost of the asset can be reliably measured.

Internally generated goodwill, brands, mastheads, publishing titles, customer lists and similar items are not recognized as assets. Intangible items that do not meet the criteria for recognition as an asset is recognized as an expense when incurred. Expenditure that was initially recognised as an expense is not included in the cost of an intangible asset at a later date.

Research Phase
Expenditure on research is recognized as an expense.

Development Phase
Intangible asset arising from development is recognized only if an entity can demonstrate all of the following criteria in getting the intangible asset ready either for use or sale:-
(a) the technical feasibility of completing the intangible asset;
(b) its intention to complete the intangible asset;
(c) its ability to use or sell the intangible asset;
(d) how the intangible asset can generate probable future economic benefits;
(e) the availability of adequate technical, financial and other resources to complete the development; and
(f) its ability to reliably measure the expenditure due to the intangible asset during its development.

Subsequent to its initial recognition, an intangible asset is carried at:
(a) cost, less accumulated amortisation or impairment losses; or
(b) revalued amount (fair value at the date of revaluation), less any subsequent accumulated amortisation or impairment losses.

An entity shall assess whether the useful life of an intangible asset is finite or infinite. The useful life is infinite if there is no foreseeable limit to the period over which the asset is expected to generate net cash inflows for the entity. An intangible asset with infinite useful life is not amortised but is tested for impairment at least annually. The depreciable amount of an intangible asset with finite life is amortised on a systematic basis over its useful life.

Gain/loss on derecognition of an intangible asset is the difference between the net disposal proceeds and the carrying amount of the item. The gain/loss is recognized in the profit or loss.

Source – ICPAS ePublication Issue 25/2006 20 Jun 2006


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