Accounting for borrowing costs

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To prescribe the accounting treatment for borrowing cost incurred irrespective of its nature either capital or revenue and to interpret the said accounting standard in a fairly manner with the help of accounting standard interpretation as issued by ICAI.


With the advent of Industrialisation, Organisations need more resources so as to compete in the Industry which it pertains as well as to achieve its vision. Among those resources, Money is foremost and it is needed for various reasons which may include meeting its working capital requirement, construction of asset, etc. Most of the organisation opts for borrowings from banks, other financial institutions for the same.

Borrowings may include some outflow of cash even before such borrowings are made, which we may call as borrowing cost such as interest, loan processing charges by banks, other charges other than the principal amount while repaying.


Borrowing Cost

Borrowing costs are interest and other costs incurred by an enterprise in connection with the borrowing of funds.

Borrowing cost can be illustrated with many interpretations. But AS 16 provides an inclusive definition comprising of,

  • Interest charges on bank borrowings including short term and long term borrowings
  • Amortisation of discounts, premiums
  • Ancillary costs in connection with arrangement of borrowings
  • Finance charges in respect of assets acquired on finance lease
  • Exchange difference arising in foreign currency borrowings to the extent they are regarded as an adjustment to interest costs.

Qualifying asset

A qualifying asset is an asset that necessarily takes a substantial period of time to get ready for its intended use or sale.

There are certain exceptions to qualifying asset. They are,

  • Investments other than investment properties
  • Inventories that are routinely manufactured over a short period of time

How to interpret?

In order to guide for a proper interpretation ICAI has issued ACCOUNTING STANDARD INTERPRETATION (ASI).

With reference to ASI-1, Substantial period of time dependents on the facts and circumstances of each case. However, ordinarily, a period of 12 months is considered, unless a shorter or longer period can be justified on the basis of circumstances of the case.

With reference to ASI-10, Adjustment to interest cost means the difference between the interest cost on foreign currency loan and interest that would have been paid on local currency loan had this loan been in local currency


Borrowing cost will be recognised only if such cost or expense is absolutely and directly attributable to acquisition, construction or production of qualifying asset and its is also important that the cost incurred only be capitalised when it is probable that they will result in future economic benefits to enterprise and can be measured reliably

Borrowing cost that are not recognised and as a result it is not eligible for capitalisation can be charged to the profit and loss account in the period which it occurs.

Interrelation of AS-16 with other accounting standards


Exchange differences arising from foreign currency borrowing are considered as borrowing cost for which the increase in liability towards principal amount should be capitalised to the extent of increase in the interest would be paid if loan was taken in Indian currency and the balance has to be treated as exchange difference as per AS-11, The effects of changes in foreign exchange rates.


ABC ltd Company has taken a loan of USD 10,000 on April 1, 20X3, for a specific project at an interest rate of 5% p.a. On April 1, 20X3, the exchange between the currencies was Rs.45 per USD. The exchange rate as at March 31,20X4 was Rs.48 per USD. The corresponding amount could have been borrowed by ABC ltd in local currency at an interest rate of 11% p.a.


(i) Interest = USD 10,000 X 5% X Rs.48 = Rs.24000

(ii) Increase in liability towards the principal amount = USD 10,000 X (48-45) = Rs.30,000.

(iii) Interest that would have resulted if the loan was taken in Indian currency =USD 10,000 X 45 X 11% = 49,500

(iv) Difference between (iii) and (i) = 49500 – 24000 = 25,500.


AS-16 AS-11

25,500 4,500

Therefore out of Rs.30,000 increase in liability towards principal amount, only Rs.25,500 will be considered as borrowing cost and the remaining Rs.4,500 will be considered as exchange difference and charged to Profit and Loss as per AS-11

Total Borrowing cost as per AS-16 = 24,000+25,500 = Rs.49,500

Additional Illustration

How will you answer change in the above case it the local interest rate is 13%


(i) Interest = USD 10,000 X 5% X Rs.48 = Rs.24,000

(ii) Increase in liability towards the principal amount = USD 10,000 X (48-45) = Rs.30,000.

(iii) Interest that would have resulted if the loan was taken in Indian currency =USD 10,000 X 45 X 13% = Rs.58,500

(iv) Difference between (iii) and (i) = 58,500 – 24,000 = Rs.34,500.

Therefore, whole 30,000 will be considered as borrowing cost.

Total Borrowing cost as per AS-16 = 24,000+30,000 = Rs.54,000

What will be the situation under Income-tax act?

Sec.43A Income-tax act explains how to deal with exchange rate differences arising from acquiring asset from a country outside India for the purposes of business or profession as a result increase or reduction in liability for making payment or for repayment of loan borrowed in foreign currency specially acquiring for asset. It clearly states that exchange difference has to be treated in Income tax only in relation to payment, and not on accrual basis as required under AS-16.

Therefore, only the exchange differences arising from the assets acquired or loan borrowed from outside India is to be capitalised. It never speaks about the concept of adjustment of interest costs. So, even if one has followed AS-16 for treating exchange difference as an adjustment to interest cost, it has to be nullify that effect while arriving at the block of assets as per Income tax act and instead, adjustment of assets only to the extent of exchange differences has to be made.


Expenditure on a qualifying asset comprises of only those that has resulted in payments of cash, transfers of other assets or the assumption of interest bearing liabilities. Such expenditure has to be decreased for any progress payment received and grants received in connection with asset .This is also similar in the case of Accounting standard-12, Government grants, as it prescribes that asset has to be accounted after deducting the amount of monetary grant received from the gross value of the asset.


In the inclusive definition of borrowing cost, it says that finance charge arising on account of assets acquired on financial lease is to be capitalised to the extent of such finance charges. Such finance charges will be computed as per the Accounting standard-19, Leases.


Measurement of borrowing costs includes such costs incurred in both specific and general borrowing. In case of specific borrowing, the money borrowed is used particularly for the purpose of acquiring a qualifying asset. Such cost has to be capitalised less any income on temporary investment made on such borrowings

On the other hand, it is general borrowing for which the money is borrowed generally for the purpose of various qualifying assets, the amount of borrowing cost to be capitalised to be determined by applying an appropriate capitalisation rate on the expenditure of the capitalisation rate. Capitalisation rate is the weighted average of the borrowing cost applicable to the borrowings of the enterprise outstanding during the period other than the borrowings made specifically for the purpose of obtaining qualifying asset.

Capitalisation Rate = Total Interest on borrowing

Total Borrowings

Therefore, the relationship is,

Specific borrowings - one loan with one asset or many assets

General borrowings – Many loans with many assets

Expenditure on qualifying asset

Payment of cash XX

Transfer of other assets XX

Interest bearing liabilities XX


Receipt of progress payment (XX)

Grant received in connection with asset (XX)


Expenditure XX


Another important note is that the amount of borrowing costs capitalised during the period should not exceed the amount of borrowing cost incurred during the period.


Capitalisation of borrowing coast will be commenced on the basis of three conditions. They include that the expenditure for acquisition, production of asset has been actually incurred and activities necessary to prepare the asset for which the asset has been originally assessed to be used and actual borrowing cost has been incurred for the same.


Borrowing costs in relation to qualifying assets are normally continuous for capitalisation. But in certain case they are suspended as prescribed when there is interruption in the active development of the asset. But there is exception to such suspension is not necessary in these cases,

  • When substantial technical and administrative work is being carried out.
  • When temporary delay is a necessary part of process of getting an asset ready for its intended use or sale. (E.g. Interest on loan taken to finance working capital requirement for a vineyard)


There is a point in which the capitalisation of borrowing cost should to be stopped. Such capitalisation should be ceased if construction of a certain portion of the asset is completed and such asset can be used independently for its intended use or sale. On the other hand, if the assets are completed in parts and cannot be used independently, then the capitalisation should continue till the asset is ready for its intended use.

The other kind of situation is that the capitalisation should be stopped if the asset is physically completed and only the routine administrative work is going on. Even if decoration work is remaining then the asset is deemed to be completed and the capitalisation of borrowing cost should be stopped for such asset.


Borrowing costs are disclosed in financial statements in terms of the particular accounting policy adopted and the amount of borrowing costs capitalised during the financial year.

What are the significant differences between AS-16, IAS, and US GAAP?

There is a marked difference in the way US GAAP and IAS deal with capitalisation of borrowing costs. Under IAS-23, there are two treatments that are allowed,

  1. The benchmark treatment which requires borrowing cost to be expensed when incurred
  2. Alternative treatment which requires capitalisation of borrowing cost when certain rules and conditions are fulfilled.

But AS-16 does not allow dual treatment, i.e. borrowing costs are compulsorily capitalised when certain conditions are fulfilled and compulsorily not capitalised when certain conditions are not fulfilled. The same situation exists in the case of US GAAP-FAS-34 interest cost is capitalisable for all assets that require a period of time for their intended use, unless they are not material.


In spite of various accounting policies and financial reporting framework, AS-16, Borrowing costs are important to prepare those financial statements and so that the accounting information presented to the management is accurate and discloses material facts.