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HMRC internal manual

Corporate Finance Manual

Accounting for corporate finance: offsetting: when offsetting is inappropriate

Offsetting is usually inappropriate when:

  • several different financial instruments are used to emulate the features of a single financial instrument (a ‘synthetic instrument’);
  • financial assets and financial liabilities arise from financial instruments having the same primary risk exposure (e.g. assets and liabilities within a portfolio of forward contracts or other derivative instruments) but involve different counterparties;
  • financial or other assets are pledged as collateral for non-recourse financial liabilities;
  • financial assets are set aside in trust by a debtor for the purpose of discharging an obligation without those assets having been accepted by the creditor in settlement of the obligation (e.g. a sinking fund arrangement); or
  • obligations incurred as a result of events giving rise to losses are expected to be recovered from a third party by virtue of a claim made under an insurance policy.