GASB Issues OPEB Implementation & Other Guidance

Authors
Connie Spinelli, CPA
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The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued Implementation Guide No. 2017-2 to address issues raised or anticipated about implementing GASB Statement No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans. Statement 74 was issued in June 2015 and became effective for financial statements for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2016.

The more than 150 questions and answers and seven illustrations provide state and local governmental financial statement preparers and other stakeholders with guidance on these topics:

  • Scope and applicability of Statement 74
  • Types of other postemployment benefits (OPEB) and OPEB plans
  • Defined benefit OPEB plans administered through trusts meeting the criteria in paragraph 3 of Statement 74
  • Assets accumulated to provide OPEB through defined benefit OPEB plans not administered through trusts meeting the criteria in paragraph 3 of Statement 74
  • Defined contribution OPEB plans administered through trusts that meet the criteria in paragraph 3 of Statement 74
  • Effective date and transition of Statement 74

The OPEB Implementation Guide is effective for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2016, except for questions 4.80, 4.144 and 4.151, which are effective for reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2017. Early application is encouraged if the related OPEB plan provision in Statement 74 has been implemented. Changes to comply with the OPEB Implementation Guide should be retroactively applied by restating financial statements, if practical, for all periods presented.

GASB also issued its annual Implementation Guidance Update in April. As Category B guidance in the hierarchy of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), this year’s edition addresses aspects of these topics:

  • Cash flow reporting
  • The financial reporting entity
  • Pensions—plan and employer accounting and reporting
  • Accounting and financial reporting for certain investments and external investment pools

Additional questions and answers included in the guidance update provide other implementation guidance on elements of Statement No. 77, Tax Abatement Disclosures.

The guidance update includes amendments to previously issued Category B GAAP and other implementation guidance to address issues identified after issuance of Implementation Guidance Update 2015-01 and Update 2016-01—including various pension and OPEB matters. Requirements of the Implementation Guidance Update are effective for reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2017, with earlier application encouraged if the pronouncement addressed by the question and answer has not been implemented.

For more information, contact your BKD advisor.

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