The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued a guide to questions and answers about the new standards on accounting and financial reporting for postemployment benefits other than pensions.
Those benefits, which primarily concern retiree health care, are referred to as “other postemployment benefits” (OPEB).
The 248-page Implementation Guide No. 2017-3, Accounting andFinancial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions (and Certain Issues Related to OPEB Plan Reporting), is intended to explain or elaborate upon the requirements of GASB Statement No. 75, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions.
The guide also addresses some issues concerning Statement No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans.
The guide does not address OPEB provided through OPEB plans that have the characteristics in paragraph 18 of Statement No. 85, Omnibus 2017.
In a brief two-paragraph explanation of the scope and applicability of the guide, the GASB notes that paragraphs C3 and C6 of the guide provide for the removal from the Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards and the Comprehensive Implementation Guide, the following transition-related questions and answers in the guide at the conclusion of the transition period for Statement 75: Questions 4.497 – 4.502.
Instructions in paragraphs C1 and C4 also clarify the use of the term “trust” (or its variations) in applying certain requirements in Implementation Guide 2017-2, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans.
The GASB notes that questions and answers in its guides are considered Category B authoritative guidance under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The guidance applies to all state and local governments that follow GAAP when preparing their financial statements.
Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.