Definition of intangibles

By Tolley
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The following Owner-Managed Businesses guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Definition of intangibles
  • Definition of an IFA
  • Understanding goodwill
  • Excluded assets

This guidance note considers the definitions of an ‘intangible fixed asset’ (IFA) for the purpose of the corporate intangibles regime.

Definition of an IFA

IFAs are assets which are defined as intangible assets under GAAP which have a continuing use in the company’s activities. The accounting definition is set out in FRS 102, s 18 and defines an intangible asset as ‘an identifiable non-monetary asset without physical substance’.

CTA 2009, ss 712–713

For an asset to fall within the FRS 102 definition of an ‘intangible asset’, it must therefore be:

  • non-financial
  • a fixed asset (ie not held or acquired as trading stock)
  • one with no physical substance
  • capable of being identified, ie capable of being sold, licensed, rented or otherwise separated from the business with which it is associated, or otherwise arising from contractual or other legal rights
  • an asset over which the company can exercise a degree of control, ie via a franchise, licence arrangement, patent, etc

The following assets are specifically included in the definition of IFAs for tax purposes:

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