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GASB Tries to Ease Pension Standards for Certain Governments

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Oct 16th 2015
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Guidance proposed by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) on Oct. 14 is aimed at assisting certain governments that are having difficulty complying with the board's new pension standards.

“The GASB acted quickly in issuing this proposed guidance in response to stakeholder concerns regarding a situation that could make it difficult – or impossible – for some governments, through no fault of their own, to comply with the new pension standards,” GASB Chairman David Vaudt said in a written statement.

The situation Vaudt mentioned was the inability of some state and local governments whose employees are provided pension benefits through multiple-employer pension plans to obtain information related to pensions as required by GASB Statement 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions. Specifically, these governments found it hard to obtain measurements and other relevant data points needed to comply with the standard's requirements.

The proposed guidance contained in the exposure draft, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions Provided Through Certain Multiple-Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plans, would apply to governments that participate in certain private or federally sponsored, multiple-employer defined benefit pension plans, such as Taft-Hartley plans or plans with similar characteristics. It would assist these governments by focusing employer accounting and financial reporting requirements for those pension plans on obtainable information.

In addition, the guidance would also establish separate standards for employers that participate in pension plans that meet the criteria contained in the proposal.

The guidance would establish separate standards for the following:

  • Note disclosures of descriptive information about the plan.
  • Benefit terms.
  • Contribution terms.
  • Required supplementary information presenting required contribution amounts for the past 10 fiscal years.

The GASB will accept written comments on the proposal until Nov. 16. Instructions on how to submit written comments are included in the exposure draft.

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