Three exposure drafts the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) approved last month – two regarding other postemployment benefits (OPEB) and one on requirements for pension plans that fall outside of the pension rules the board established two years ago – can now be downloaded free of charge.
Stakeholders are encouraged to review the proposals and provide comments to the GASB by August 29, 2014. Also, the accounting rule-maker for state and local governments will host public hearings on the exposure drafts on September 10, 11, and 12. Instructions on how to submit written comments, as well as information on locations and how to register for the public hearings, are included in each exposure draft.
Under the two OPEB exposure drafts the GASB approved on May 28, state and local governments would be required to recognize their net OPEB liabilities on the face of their financial statements – providing all financial statement users with a more comprehensive understanding of these significant OPEB promises than is currently available.
The proposed OPEB standards are:
- Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions (OPEB employer exposure draft), which proposes guidance for reporting by governments that provide OPEB to their employees and for governments that finance OPEB for employees of other employers.
- Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans (OPEB plan exposure draft), which addresses the reporting by the OPEB plans that administer those benefits.
The third exposure draft, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions and Financial Reporting for Pension Plans That Are Not Administered through Trusts That Meet Specified Criteria, and Amendments to Certain Provisions of GASB Statements 67 and 68, would establish requirements for pensions and pension plans that are not administered through a trust that meets specified criteria.
The GASB also developed an OPEB web page that features new “plain English” resources to help users, preparers, and auditors of financial statements familiarize themselves with the proposals. The resources include:
- An article outlining the key ways that the OPEB proposals will change how governments calculate and report the costs and obligations associated with OPEB.
- An article oriented to financial statement users that addresses how the proposed changes would affect the information that users receive about a government’s OPEB.
- A video featuring GASB Chairman David Vaudt discussing the key principles of the OPEB proposals.
- A fact sheet answering frequently asked questions.
- The summary and the full text of the proposals.
In addition, the GASB will be conducting two webinars about the proposals. The first, a CPE webinar, will begin at 1 p.m. ET on July 30. The second webinar, for financial statement users, will start at 1 p.m. ET on August 8. It will be followed by a survey to collect feedback from users of the proposed standards.