Sale‐Leaseback Transactions

Sale‐leaseback describes a transaction where the owner of property (seller‐lessee) sells the property, and then immediately leases all or part of it back from the new owner (buyer‐lessor). These transactions may occur when the seller‐lessee is experiencing cash flow or financing problems or because of available income tax advantages. The important consideration in this type of transaction is the recognition of two separate and distinct economic events. It is important to note, however, that in a typical sale‐leaseback there is not a change in the party that has the right to use the property. First, there is a sale of property, and second, there is a lease agreement for the same property in which the original seller is the lessee and the original buyer is the lessor. This is illustrated below.

A sale‐leaseback transaction is usually structured with the sales price of the asset at or above its current fair value. The result of this higher sales price is higher periodic rental payments over the lease term. The transaction is usually attractive because of the income tax benefits associated with it. The seller‐lessee benefits from the higher price because of the increased gain on the sale of the property and the deductibility of the lease payments that are usually larger than the depreciation that was previously being deducted. The buyer‐lessor benefits from ...

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