Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2022
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Basis of Presentation
Basis of Presentation
These consolidated financial statements include the accounts of COPT, the Operating Partnership, their subsidiaries and other entities in which COPT has a majority voting interest and control.  We also consolidate certain entities when control of such entities can be achieved through means other than voting rights (“variable interest entities” or “VIEs”) if we are deemed to be the primary beneficiary of such entities.  We eliminate all intercompany balances and transactions in consolidation.
We use the equity method of accounting when we own an interest in an entity and can exert significant influence over but cannot control the entity’s operations. We discontinue equity method accounting if our investment in an entity (and net advances) is reduced to zero unless we have guaranteed obligations of the entity or are otherwise committed to provide further financial support for the entity.
When we own an equity investment in an entity and cannot exert significant influence over its operations, we measure the investment at fair value, with changes recognized through net income. For an investment without a readily determinable fair value, we measure the investment at cost, less any impairments, plus or minus changes resulting from observable price changes for an identical or similar investment of the same issuer.

We reclassified certain amounts from prior periods to conform to the current period presentation of our consolidated financial statements with no effect on previously reported net income or equity.
Use of Estimates in the Preparation of Financial Statements
Use of Estimates in the Preparation of Financial Statements

We make estimates and assumptions when preparing financial statements under generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). These estimates and assumptions affect various matters, including:
the reported amounts of assets and liabilities in our consolidated balance sheets as of the dates of the financial statements;
the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities as of the dates of the financial statements; and
the reported amounts of revenues and expenses in our consolidated statements of operations during the reporting periods.
Significant estimates are inherent in the presentation of our financial statements in a number of areas, including the evaluation of the collectability of accounts and deferred rent receivable, the determination of estimated useful lives of assets, the determination of lease terms, the evaluation of long-lived assets for impairment, the amount of impairment losses recognized, the allocation of property acquisition costs, the amount of revenue recognized relating to tenant improvements, the level of expense recognized in connection with share-based compensation and the determination of accounting method for investments. Actual results could differ from these and other estimates.

We report properties to be developed or held and used in operations at our depreciated cost, reduced for impairment losses.

We capitalize direct and indirect project costs (including related compensation and other indirect costs), interest expense and real estate taxes associated with properties, or portions thereof, undergoing development or redevelopment activities. In capitalizing interest expense, if there is a specific borrowing for a property undergoing development or redevelopment activities, we apply the interest rate of that borrowing to the average accumulated expenditures that do not exceed such borrowing; for the portion of expenditures exceeding any such specific borrowing, we apply our weighted average interest rate on other borrowings to the expenditures. We continue to capitalize costs while development or redevelopment activities are underway until a property becomes “operational,” which occurs when lease terms commence (generally when the tenant has control of the leased space and we have delivered the premises to the tenant as required under the terms of such lease), but no later than one year after the cessation of major construction activities. When leases commence on portions of a newly-developed or redeveloped property in the period prior to one year from the cessation of major construction activities, we consider that property to be “partially operational.” When a property is partially operational, we allocate the costs associated with the property between the portion that is operational and the portion under development. We start depreciating costs associated with newly-developed or redeveloped properties as they become operational. For newly-developed properties, we classify improvements provided under the terms of a lease that are deemed to be landlord assets (as discussed further below) as new building development costs.

Most of our leases provide for some form of improvements to leased space. When we are required to provide improvements under the terms of a lease, we determine whether the improvements constitute landlord assets or tenant assets. If the improvements are landlord assets, we capitalize the cost of the improvements and recognize depreciation expense over the estimated useful lives of the assets as discussed below. We recognize any payments from the tenant for such assets as lease revenue over the term of the lease. If the improvements are tenant assets, we defer the cost of improvements funded by us as a lease incentive asset and amortize it as a reduction of rental revenue over the term of the lease. In determining whether improvements constitute landlord or tenant assets, we consider numerous factors, including whether the economic substance of the lease terms is properly reflected and whether the improvements: have value to us as real estate; are unique to the tenant or reusable by other tenants; may be altered or removed by the tenant without our consent or without compensating us for any lost fair value; or are owned, and remain, with us or the tenant at the end of the lease term.

We depreciate our fixed assets using the straight-line method over their estimated useful lives as follows:
Estimated Useful Lives
Buildings and building improvements
10-40 years
Land improvements
10-20 years
Tenant improvements on operating properties Shorter of remaining useful lives of assets or related lease term
Equipment and personal property
3-10 years

We report properties disposed or classified as held for sale as discontinued operations when the disposition represents a strategic shift having a major effect on our operations and financial results (such as a disposition of a reportable segment or
subsegment or major line of business). For discontinued operations, we classify for all periods presented the associated: assets as held for sale on our consolidated balance sheets; and results of operations as discontinued operations on our consolidated statements of operations (including interest expense on debt specifically identifiable to such components).

For periods in which a property not reported as discontinued operations is classified as held for sale, we classify the assets of the property’s asset group as held for sale on our consolidated balance sheets.
Sale of Properties Sales of PropertiesWe recognize gains from sales of consolidated interests in properties when we transfer control of such interests.
Impairment of Properties
Impairment of Properties

We assess the asset groups associated with each of our properties, including operating properties, properties in development, land held for future development, related intangible assets, right-of-use assets, deferred rents receivable and lease liabilities, for indicators of impairment quarterly or when circumstances indicate that an asset group may be impaired.  If our analyses indicate that the carrying values of certain properties’ asset groups may be impaired, we perform a recovery analysis for such asset groups.  For properties to be held and used, we analyze recoverability based on the estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to be generated from the operations and eventual disposition of the properties over, in most cases, a ten-year holding period.  If we believe it is more likely than not that we will dispose of the properties earlier, we analyze recoverability using a probability weighted analysis of the estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to be generated from the operations and eventual disposition of the properties over the various possible holding periods.  If the analysis indicates that the carrying value of a tested property’s asset group is not recoverable from its estimated future cash flows, the property’s asset group is written down to the property’s estimated fair value and an impairment loss is recognized.  If and when our plans change, we revise our recoverability analyses to use the cash flows expected from the operations and eventual disposition of such property using holding periods that are consistent with our revised plans; as a result, changes in holding periods may require us to recognize impairment losses. 

Fair values are estimated based on contract prices, indicative bids, discounted cash flow analyses, yield analyses or comparable sales analyses. Estimated cash flows used in our impairment analyses are based on our plans for the property and our views of market and economic conditions. The estimates consider items such as current and future market rental and occupancy rates, estimated operating and capital expenditures and recent sales data for comparable properties; most of these items are influenced by market data obtained from real estate leasing and brokerage firms and our direct experience with the properties and their markets.
When we determine that a property is held for sale, we stop depreciating the property and estimate the property’s fair value, net of selling costs; if we then determine that the estimated fair value, net of selling costs, is less than the net carrying value of the property’s asset group, we recognize an impairment loss equal to the difference and reduce the net carrying value of the property’s asset group.
Acquisition of Operating Properties
Acquisition of Operating Properties

Upon completion of operating property acquisitions, we allocate the purchase price to tangible and intangible assets and liabilities associated with such acquisitions based on our estimates of their fair values. We determine these fair values by using market data and independent appraisals available to us and making numerous estimates and assumptions. We allocate operating property acquisitions to the following components:

properties based on a valuation performed under the assumption that the property is vacant upon acquisition (the “if-vacant value”). The if-vacant value is allocated based on the valuation performed between land and buildings or, in the case of properties under development, development in progress. We also allocate additional amounts to properties for in-place tenant improvements based on our estimate of improvements per square foot provided under market leases that would be attributable to the remaining non-cancelable terms of the respective leases;
above- and below-market lease intangible assets or liabilities based on the present value (using an estimated interest rate reflective of the risks associated with the leases acquired) of the difference between: (1) the contractual amounts to be received pursuant to the in-place leases; and (2) our estimate of fair market lease rates for the corresponding spaces, measured over a period equal to the remaining non-cancelable terms of the respective leases. The capitalized above- and below-market lease values are amortized as adjustments to lease revenue over the remaining lease terms of the respective leases, and to renewal periods in the case of below-market leases;
in-place lease value based on our estimates of: (1) the present value of additional income to be realized as a result of leases being in place on the acquired properties; and (2) costs to execute similar leases. Our estimate of costs to execute similar leases includes leasing commissions, legal and other related costs;
tenant relationship value based on our evaluation of the specific characteristics of each tenant’s lease and our overall relationship with that respective tenant. Characteristics we consider in determining these values include the nature and
extent of our existing business relationships with the tenant, growth prospects for developing new business with the tenant, the tenant’s credit quality and expectations of lease renewals, among other factors; and
above- and below-market cost arrangements (such as real estate tax treaties or above- or below-market ground leases) based on the present value of the expected benefit from any such arrangements in place on the property at the time of acquisition.
Leased Assets, as a Lessee Leased Assets, as a LesseeWe recognize right-of-use assets and lease liabilities for land and other assets leased by us from third parties for terms of at least one year. We recognize lease expense over lease terms on a straight-line basis for operating leases and on an effective interest method basis for finance leases. In determining right-of-use assets and lease liabilities, we estimate an appropriate incremental borrowing rate on a fully-collateralized basis for the terms of the leases. Since the terms under our land leases are usually significantly longer than the terms of borrowings available to us on a fully-collateralized basis, our estimates of rates for such leases require significant judgment, and consider factors such as estimated interest rates available to us on a fully-collateralized basis for shorter-termed debt and U.S. Treasury rates.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and Cash Equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents include all cash and liquid investments that mature three months or less from when they are purchased. Cash equivalents are reported at cost, which approximates fair value. We maintain our cash in bank accounts in amounts that may exceed federally insured limits at times. We have not experienced any losses on these accounts in the past and believe that we are not exposed to significant credit risk because our accounts are deposited with major financial institutions.
Investments in Marketable Securities Investments in Marketable SecuritiesWe classify marketable securities as trading securities when we have the intent to sell such securities in the near term, and classify other marketable securities as available-for-sale securities. We determine the appropriate classification of investments in marketable securities at the acquisition date and re-evaluate the classification at each balance sheet date. We report investments in marketable securities classified as trading securities at fair value (which is included in the line entitled “Prepaid expenses and other assets, net” on our consolidated balance sheets), with unrealized gains and losses recognized through earnings; on our consolidated statements of cash flows, we classify cash flows from these securities as operating activities.
Receivables and Credit Losses
Receivables and Credit Losses

We write off receivables when we believe the facts and circumstances indicate that continued pursuit of collection is no longer warranted. When cash is received in connection with receivables for which we have previously recognized credit losses, we recognize reductions in our credit losses.

Lease Revenue

We estimate the collectability of lease revenue and related accounts receivable using judgement based on the credit status and payment history of the related tenants. If we deem that collectability of revenue under a lease is not probable, revenue recognized is limited to the lesser of revenue that would have been recognized if collectability was probable or lease payments collected.

Financial Assets and Other Instruments

Effective January 1, 2020, we adopted guidance issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) that changed how we measure credit losses for most financial assets and certain other instruments not measured at fair value through net income from an incurred loss model to an expected loss approach. We adopted this guidance using the modified retrospective transition method under which we recognized a $5.5 million allowance for credit losses by means of a cumulative-effect adjustment to cumulative distributions in excess of net income and did not adjust prior comparative reporting periods. Our items within the scope of this guidance include:

investing receivables, as disclosed in Note 8;
tenant notes receivable;
net investment in sales-type leases;
other assets comprised of non-lease revenue related accounts receivable (primarily from construction contract services) and contract assets from unbilled construction contract revenue; and
off-balance sheet credit exposures.
Under this guidance, we recognize an estimate of our expected credit losses on these items as an allowance, as the guidance requires that financial assets be measured on an amortized cost basis and be presented at the net amount expected to be collected (or as a separate liability in the case of off-balance sheet credit exposures). The allowance represents the portion of the amortized cost basis that we do not expect to collect (or loss we expect to incur in the case of off-balance sheet credit exposures) due to credit over the contractual life based on available information relevant to assessing the collectability of cash flows, which includes consideration of past events, current conditions and reasonable and supportable forecasts of future economic conditions (including consideration of asset- or borrower-specific factors). The allowance for expected credit losses reflects the risk of loss, even when that risk is remote. An allowance for credit losses is measured and recorded upon the initial recognition of a financial asset (or off-balance sheet credit exposure), regardless of whether it is originated or purchased. Quarterly, the expected losses are re-estimated, considering any cash receipts and changes in risks or assumptions, with resulting adjustments recognized as credit loss expense or recoveries on our consolidated statements of operations.

We estimate expected credit losses for items within the scope of this guidance using historical loss rate information developed for varying classifications of credit risk and contractual lives. Due to our limited quantity of items within the scope of this guidance and the unique risk characteristics of such items, we individually assign each in-scope item a credit risk classification. The credit risk classifications assigned by us are determined based on credit ratings assigned by ratings agencies (as available) or are internally-developed based on available financial information, historical payment experience, credit documentation, other publicly available information and current economic trends. In addition, for certain items in which the risk of credit loss is affected by the economic performance of a real estate development project, we develop probability weighted scenario analyses for varying levels of performance in estimating our credit loss allowance (applicable to our notes receivable from the City of Huntsville disclosed in Note 8 and a tax incremental financing obligation disclosed in Note 19).
When we believe that collection of interest income on an investing or tenant note receivable is not probable, we place the receivable on nonaccrual status, meaning interest income is recognized when payments are received rather than on an accrual basis.
Deferred Leasing and Deferred Financing Costs Deferred Leasing CostsWe defer costs incurred to obtain new tenant leases or extend existing tenant leases. We amortize these costs evenly over the lease terms. We classify leasing costs paid as an investing activity on our statements of cash flows since such costs are necessary in order for us to generate long-term future cash flows from our properties. When tenant leases are terminated early, we expense any unamortized deferred leasing costs associated with those leases over the shortened lease term.
Deferred Financing Costs

We defer costs of financing arrangements and recognize these costs as interest expense over the related debt terms on a straight-line basis, which approximates the amortization that would occur under the effective interest method of amortization. We expense any unamortized loan costs when loans are retired early or significantly modified. We present deferred costs of financing arrangements as a direct deduction from the related debt liability, except for costs attributable to line-of-credit arrangements and interest rate derivatives, which we present in the balance sheet in the line entitled “prepaid expenses and other assets, net”.
Intangible Assets and Deferred Revenue on Property Acquisitions
Intangible Assets and Deferred Revenue on Property Acquisitions

We amortize intangible assets and deferred revenue on property acquisitions as follows:
Asset Type Amortization Period Statement of Operations Location
Above- and below-market leases Related lease terms Lease revenue
In-place lease value Related lease terms Depreciation and amortization associated with real estate operations
Tenant relationship value Estimated period of time that tenant will lease space in property Depreciation and amortization associated with real estate operations
Interest Rate Derivatives
Interest Rate Derivatives

Our primary objectives in using interest rate derivatives are to add stability to interest expense and to manage exposure to interest rate movements. To accomplish this objective, we use interest rate swaps as part of our interest rate risk management strategy. Interest rate swaps designated as cash flow hedges involve the receipt of variable-rate amounts from a counterparty in exchange for our making fixed-rate payments over the life of the agreements without exchange of the underlying notional amount.  We use interest rate swaps to hedge the cash flows associated with interest rates on variable-rate debt borrowings. We have also used forward-starting interest rate swaps to hedge the cash flows associated with interest rates on forecasted fixed-rate borrowings. We recognize all derivatives as assets or liabilities on our consolidated balance sheet at fair value.
We defer all changes in the fair value of designated cash flow hedges to accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”) or loss (“AOCL”), reclassifying such deferrals to interest expense as interest expense is recognized on the hedged forecasted transactions. When an interest rate swap designated as a cash flow hedge no longer qualifies for hedge accounting and the hedged transactions are probable not to occur, we recognize changes in the fair value of the hedge previously deferred to AOCI or AOCL, along with any changes in fair value occurring thereafter, through earnings. We do not use interest rate derivatives for trading or speculative purposes. We manage counter-party risk by only entering into contracts with major financial institutions based upon their credit ratings and other risk factors. We use standard market conventions and techniques such as discounted cash flow analysis, option pricing models, replacement cost and termination cost in computing the fair value of derivatives at each balance sheet date. We made an accounting policy election to use an exception provided for in the applicable accounting guidance with respect to measuring counterparty credit risk for derivative instruments; this election enables us to measure the fair value of groups of assets and liabilities associated with derivative instruments consistently with how market participants would price the net risk exposure as of the measurement date.
Noncontrolling Interests Noncontrolling InterestsOur consolidated noncontrolling interests are comprised of interests in COPLP not owned by COPT and interests in consolidated real estate joint ventures not owned by us (discussed further in Note 6). We evaluate whether noncontrolling interests are subject to redemption features outside of our control. We classify noncontrolling interests that are currently redeemable for cash at the option of the holders or are probable of becoming redeemable as redeemable noncontrolling interests in the mezzanine section of our consolidated balance sheets; we adjust these interests each period to the greater of their fair value or carrying amount (initial amount as adjusted for allocations of income and losses and contributions and distributions), with a corresponding offset to additional paid-in capital on our consolidated balance sheets. Our other noncontrolling interests are reported in the equity section of our consolidated balance sheets.
Revenue Recognition
Revenue Recognition

Lease and Other Property Revenue

We lease real estate properties, comprised primarily of office properties and data center shells, to third parties. These leases usually include options under which the tenant may renew its lease based on market rates at the time of renewal, which are then typically subject to further negotiation. These leases occasionally provide the tenant with an option to terminate its lease early usually for a defined termination fee.

Most of our lease revenue is from fixed contractual payments defined under the lease that, in most cases, escalate annually over the term of the lease. Our lease revenue also includes variable lease payments predominantly for tenant reimbursements of property operating expenses and lease termination fees. Property operating expense reimbursement structures vary, with some tenants responsible for all of a property’s expenses, while others are responsible for their share of a property’s expense only to the extent such expenses exceed amounts defined in the lease (which are derived from the property’s historical expense levels). Lease termination fees in most cases result from a tenant’s exercise of an existing right under a lease.

Upon lease commencement, we evaluate leases to determine if they meet criteria set forth in lease accounting guidance for classification as sales-type leases or direct financing leases; if a lease meets none of these criteria, we classify the lease as an operating lease. Upon commencement of sales-type leases, we derecognize the underlying asset, recognizing in its place a net investment in the lease equal to the sum of the lease receivable and the present value of any unguaranteed residual asset and recognize any selling profit or loss created as a result of the difference between those two amounts. Similarly, for direct financing leases, we would derecognize the underlying asset and recognize a net investment in the lease, but, unlike in a sales-type lease, would defer profit and amortize it as interest income over the lease term. Our leases of properties as lessor are predominantly classified as operating leases, for which the underlying asset remains on our balance sheet and is depreciated consistently with other owned assets, with income recognized as described below.

We recognize minimum rents on operating leases, net of abatements, on a straight-line basis over the term of tenant leases. A lease term commences when: (1) the tenant has control of the leased space (legal right to use the property); and (2) we have delivered the premises to the tenant as required under the terms of the lease. The term of a lease includes the noncancellable periods of the lease along with periods covered by: (1) a tenant option to extend the lease if the tenant is reasonably certain to exercise that option; (2) a tenant option to terminate the lease if the tenant is reasonably certain not to exercise that option; and (3) an option to extend (or not to terminate) the lease in which exercise of the option is controlled by us as the lessor. When assessing the expected lease end date, we use judgment in contemplating the significance of: any penalties a tenant may incur should it choose not to exercise any existing options to extend the lease or exercise any existing options to terminate the lease; and economic incentives for the tenant based on any existing contract, asset, entity or market-based factors
in the lease. While a significant portion of our portfolio is leased to the USG, and the majority of those leases consist of a series of one-year renewal options, or provide for early termination rights, we have concluded that exercise of existing renewal options, or continuation of such leases without exercising early termination rights, is reasonably certain for most of these leases.

We elected a practical expedient available under lease accounting guidance that enables us to combine non-lease components that otherwise would need to be accounted for under revenue accounting guidance (such as tenant reimbursements of property operating expenses) with the associated lease components for our accounting and reporting of operating lease revenue.

We report the amount by which our minimum rental revenue recognized on a straight-line basis under leases exceeds the contractual rent billings associated with such leases as deferred rent receivable on our consolidated balance sheets. Amounts by which our minimum rental revenue recognized on a straight-line basis under leases are less than the contractual rent billings associated with such leases are reported in liabilities as deferred revenue associated with operating leases on our consolidated balance sheets.

In connection with a tenant’s entry into, or modification of, a lease, if we make cash payments to, or on behalf of, the tenant for purposes other than funding the construction of landlord assets, we generally defer the amount of such payments as lease incentives. As discussed above, when we are required to provide improvements under the terms of a lease, we determine whether the improvements constitute landlord assets or tenant assets; if the improvements are tenant assets, we defer the cost of improvements funded by us as a lease incentive asset. We amortize lease incentives as a reduction of rental revenue over the term of the lease.

If collectability under a lease is not probable, revenue recognized is limited to the lesser of revenue that would have been recognized if collectability was probable or lease payments collected.

We recognize lease revenue associated with tenant expense recoveries in the same periods in which we incur the related expenses, including tenant reimbursements of property taxes, utilities and other property operating expenses.

We recognize fees received for lease terminations as revenue and write off against such revenue any (1) deferred rents receivable, and (2) deferred revenue, lease incentives and intangible assets that are amortizable into lease revenue associated with such leases; the resulting net amount is the net revenue from the early termination of the leases. When a tenant’s lease for space in a property is terminated early but the tenant continues to lease such space under a new or modified lease in the property, the net revenue from the early termination of the lease is recognized evenly over the remaining life of the new or modified lease in place on that property.

Construction Contract and Other Service Revenues

We enter into construction contracts to complete various design and construction services primarily for our USG tenants. The revenues and expenses from these services consist primarily of subcontracted costs that are reimbursed to us by our customers along with a fee. These services are an ancillary component of our overall operations, with small operating margins relative to the revenue. We review each contract to determine the performance obligations and allocate the transaction price based on the standalone selling price, as discussed further below. We recognize revenue under these contracts as services are performed in an amount that reflects the consideration we expect to receive in exchange for those services. Our performance obligations are satisfied over time as work progresses. Revenue recognition is determined using the input method based on costs incurred as of a point in time relative to the total estimated costs at completion to measure progress toward satisfying our performance obligations. We believe incurred costs of work performed best depicts the transfer of control of the services being transferred to the customer.

In determining whether the performance obligations associated with a construction contract should be accounted for separately versus together, we consider numerous factors that may require significant judgment, including: whether the components contracted are substantially the same with the same pattern of transfer; whether the customer could contract with another party to perform construction based on our design project; and whether the customer can elect not to move forward after the design phase of the contract. Most of our contracts have a single performance obligation as the promise to transfer the services is not separately identifiable from other obligations in the contracts and, therefore, are not distinct. Some contracts have multiple performance obligations, most commonly due to having distinct project phases for design and construction that our customer is managing separately. In these cases, we allocate the transaction price between these performance obligations based on the relative standalone selling prices, which we determine by evaluating: the relative costs of each performance obligation; the expected operating margins (which typically do not vary significantly between obligations); and amounts set forth in the contracts for each obligation. Contract modifications, such as change orders, are routine for our construction contracts and are generally determined to be additions to the existing performance obligations because they would have been part of the initial performance obligations if they were identified at the initial contract date.
We have three main types of compensation arrangements for our construction contracts: guaranteed maximum price (“GMP”); firm fixed price (“FFP”); and cost-plus fee.

GMP contracts provide for revenue equal to costs incurred plus a fee equal to a percentage of such costs, up to a maximum contract amount. We generally enter into GMP contracts for projects that are significant in nature based on the size of the project and total fees and with an undefined scope as of the contract date. GMP contracts are lower risk to us than FFP contracts since the costs and revenue move proportionately to one another.
FFP contracts provide for revenue equal to a fixed fee. These contracts are typically lower in value and scope relative to GMP contracts, and are generally entered into when the scope of the project is well defined. Typically, we assume more risk with FFP contracts than GMP contracts since the revenue is fixed and we could realize losses or less than expected profits if we incur more costs than originally estimated. However, these types of contracts offer the opportunity for additional profits when we complete the work for less than originally estimated.
Cost-plus fee contracts provide for revenue equal to costs incurred plus a fee equal to a percentage of such costs but, unlike GMP contracts, do not have a maximum contract amount. Similar to GMP contracts, cost-plus fee contracts are low risk to us since the costs and revenue move proportionately to one another.

Construction contract cost estimates are based primarily on contracts in place with subcontractors to complete most of the work, but may also include assumptions, such as performance of subcontractors and cost and availability of materials, to project the outcome of future events over the course of the project. We review and update these estimates regularly as a significant change could affect the profitability of our construction contracts. We recognize adjustments in estimated profit on contracts under the cumulative catch-up method as the modification does not create a new performance obligation. Under this method, the impact of an adjustment to profit recorded to date on a contract is recognized in the period the adjustment is identified. Revenue and profit in future periods are recognized using the adjusted estimate. If at any time the estimate of contract profitability indicates an anticipated loss on a contract, we recognize the total loss in the quarter it is identified.

Our timing of revenue recognition for construction contracts generally differs from the timing of invoicing to customers. We recognize construction contract revenue as we satisfy our performance obligations. Payment terms and conditions vary by contract type. Under most of our contracts, we bill customers monthly, as work progresses, in accordance with the contract terms, with payment due in 30 days, although customers occasionally pay in advance of services being provided. We have determined that our contracts generally do not include a significant financing component. The timing of our customer invoicing is for convenience purposes, not to provide or receive financing. Additionally, the timing of transfer of our services is often at the discretion of the customer.

Under most of our contracts, we bill customers one month subsequent to revenue recognition, resulting in contract assets representing unbilled construction revenue.
Our contract liabilities consist of advance payments from our customers or billings in excess of construction contract revenue recognized.
Expense Classification
Expense Classification
We classify as property operating expenses costs incurred for property taxes, ground rents, utilities, property management, insurance, repairs and exterior and interior maintenance, as well as associated labor and indirect costs.

We classify as general, administrative and leasing expenses costs incurred for corporate-level management, public company administration, asset management, leasing, investor relations, marketing, corporate-level insurance and leasing prospects, as well as associated labor and indirect costs.
Share-Based Compensation
Share-Based Compensation
We issue four forms of share-based compensation: restricted COPT common shares (“restricted shares”), profit interest units (“PIUs”) (time-based and performance-based), deferred share awards (also known as restricted share units) and performance share units (also known as performance share awards) (“PSUs”). We account for share-based compensation based on the fair value of awards on the grant date; such cost is then recognized over the period during which the employee is required to provide service in exchange for the award. No compensation cost is recognized for equity instruments for which employees do not render the requisite service. The guidance also requires that share-based compensation be computed based on awards that are ultimately expected to vest; as a result, future forfeitures of awards are estimated at the time of grant and revised, if necessary, in subsequent periods if actual forfeitures differ from those estimates. If an award is voluntarily cancelled by an employee, we recognize the previously unrecognized cost associated with the original award on the date of such cancellation. We capitalize costs associated with share-based compensation attributable to employees engaged in development and redevelopment activities.
We compute the fair value of restricted shares, time-based PIUs (“TB-PIUs”) and deferred share awards based on the fair value of COPT common shares on the grant date. We compute the fair value of performance-based PIUs (“PB-PIUs”) and PSUs using a Monte Carlo model. Significant assumptions used for that model include the following: the baseline common share value is the market value on the grant date; the risk-free interest rate is based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect at the time of grant; and expected volatility is based on historical volatility of COPT’s common shares.
Income Taxes
Income Taxes 

COPT elected to be treated as a REIT under Sections 856 through 860 of the Internal Revenue Code. To qualify as a REIT, COPT must meet a number of organizational and operational requirements, including a requirement that it distribute at least 90% of its adjusted taxable income to its shareholders. As a REIT, COPT generally will not be subject to federal income tax on taxable income that it distributes to its shareholders. If COPT fails to qualify as a REIT in any tax year, it will be subject to federal income tax on its taxable income at regular corporate rates and may not be able to qualify as a REIT for four subsequent tax years.

For federal income tax purposes, dividends to shareholders may be characterized as ordinary income, capital gains or return of capital. The characterization of dividends paid on COPT’s common shares during each of the last three years was as follows:
For the Years Ended December 31,
2022 2021 2020
Ordinary income 68.2  % 33.3  % 45.1  %
Long-term capital gain 31.8  % 57.3  % 54.9  %
Return of capital —  % 9.4  % —  %

The dividends allocated to each of the above years for federal income tax purposes included dividends paid on COPT’s common shares during each of those years except for the dividends paid on January 15, 2021 and 2020 (with a record date of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively), which were allocated for federal income tax purposes to 2020 and 2019, respectively.

We distributed all of COPT’s REIT taxable income in 2022, 2021 and 2020 and, as a result, did not incur federal income tax in those years.

The net basis of our consolidated assets and liabilities for tax reporting purposes was approximately $7 million lower than the amount reported on our consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2022.
We are subject to certain state and local income and franchise taxes. The expense associated with these state and local taxes is included in general, administrative and leasing expenses and property operating expenses on our consolidated statements of operations. We did not separately state these amounts on our consolidated statements of operations because they are insignificant.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements Recent Accounting PronouncementsIn March 2020, the FASB issued guidance containing practical expedients for reference rate reform related activities pertaining to debt, leases, derivatives and other contracts. The guidance is optional and may be elected over time as reference rate reform activities occur. In 2020, we elected to apply an expedient to treat any changes in loans resulting from reference rate reform as debt modifications (as opposed to extinguishments) and hedge accounting expedients related to probability and the assessments of effectiveness for future LIBOR-indexed cash flows to assume that the index upon which future hedged transactions will be based matches the index on the corresponding derivatives. Application of the hedge accounting expedients preserves the presentation of derivatives consistent with past presentation. In addition, in 2022 we entered into bilateral agreements with swap counterparties to transition certain interest rate swap agreements from LIBOR to SOFR; in connection with these amendments, we elected to apply an expedient under this guidance for changes in the critical terms of the hedging relationships due to reference rate reform to not result in a dedesignation of these hedging relationships.
Fair Value Measurement Accounting standards define fair value as the exit price, or the amount that would be received upon sale of an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants as of the measurement date. The standards also establish a hierarchy for inputs used in measuring fair value that maximizes the use of observable inputs and minimizes the use of unobservable inputs by requiring that the most observable inputs be used when available. Observable inputs are inputs market participants would use in valuing the asset or liability developed based on market data obtained from sources independent of us. Unobservable inputs are inputs that reflect our assumptions about the factors market participants would use in valuing the asset or liability developed based upon the best information available in the circumstances. The hierarchy of these inputs is broken down into three levels: Level 1 inputs are quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities; Level 2 inputs include (1) quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in active markets, (2) quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in inactive markets and (3) inputs (other than quoted prices) that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly; and Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs for the asset or liability. Categorization within the valuation hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of input that is most significant to the fair value measurement.