Entities often make commitments that are future obligations that do not yet qualify as liabilities that must be reported. For accounting purposes, they are only described in the notes to financial statements. Contingencies are potential liabilities that might result because of a past event. The likelihood of loss or the actual amount of the loss is still uncertain. Loss contingencies are recognized when their likelihood is probable and this loss is subject to a reasonable estimation. Reasonably possible losses are only described in the notes and remote contingencies can be omitted entirely from financial statements. Estimations of such losses often prove to be incorrect and normally are simply fixed in the period discovered. However, if fraud, either purposely or through gross negligence, has occurred, amounts reported in prior years are restated. Contingent gains are only reported to decision makers through disclosure within the notes to the financial statements.
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