Related party transactions and disclosures

Related party transactions are conducted with other parties with which an entity has a close association. The disclosure of related party information is considered useful to the readers of a company’s financial statements, particularly in regard to the examination of changes in the financial results and financial position over time, and in comparison to the same information for other businesses.

Examples of related parties are:

  • Affiliates
  • Other subsidiaries under common control
  • Owners of the business, its managers, and their families
  • The parent entity
  • Trusts for the benefit of employees

There are many types of transactions that can be conducted between related parties, such as sales, asset transfers, leases, lending arrangements, guarantees, allocations of common costs, and the filing of consolidated tax returns.

In general, any related party transaction should be disclosed that would impact the decision making of the users of a company’s financial statements. This involves the following disclosures:

  • General. Disclose all material related party transactions, including the nature of the relationship, the nature of the transactions, the dollar amounts of the transactions, the amounts due to or from related parties and the settlement terms (including tax-related balances), and the method by which any current and deferred tax expense is allocated to the members of a group. Do not include compensation arrangements, expense allowances, or any transactions that are eliminated in the consolidation of financial statements.
  • Control relationship. Disclose the nature of any control relationship where the company and other entities are under common ownership or management control, and this control could yield results different from what would be the case if the other entities were not under similar control, even if there are no transactions between the businesses.
  • Receivables. Separately disclose any receivables from officers, employees, or affiliated entities.

Depending on the transactions, it may be acceptable to aggregate some related party information by type of transaction. Also, it may be necessary to disclose the name of a related party, if doing so is required to understand the relationship.

When disclosing related party information, do not state or imply that the transactions were on an arm’s-length basis, unless you can substantiate the claim.