The Governmental Accounting Standards Board has issued three exposure drafts with reporting guidance related to fiduciary activities, certain asset retirement obligations, and pension issues.

The Fiduciary Activities ED would establish guidance regarding what constitutes fiduciary activities for financial reporting purposes, the recognition of liabilities to beneficiaries, and how fiduciary activities should be reported. The proposed statement would apply to all state and local governments.

The Certain Asset Retirement Obligations ED proposes guidance for determining the timing and pattern of recognition for liabilities related to asset retirement obligations and corresponding deferred outflows of resources. An asset retirement obligation is a legally enforceable liability associated with the retirement of a tangible capital asset, such as the decommissioning of a nuclear reactor. 

The Pension Issues draft addresses practice issues raised by stakeholders during the implementation of Statements No. 67, Financial Reporting for Pension Plans, and No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions. Among other things, it would address issues regarding the presentation of payroll-related measures in required supplementary information; the selection of assumptions and the treatment of deviations from actuarial standards; and the classification of payments made by employers to satify employee contribution requirements.

“These proposed standards are designed to improve the reporting of important activities and transactions in governmental financial statements,” said GASB Chair David Vaudt in a statement. “The proposals addressing fiduciary activities and certain asset retirement obligations would establish guidance in areas where little or none exists today. The Exposure Draft addressing pension issues comes in response to issues raised by GASB stakeholders as they carried out the process of implementing the recent pension standards. Together, these proposals are designed to improve consistency, comparability, and clarity in governmental accounting and financial reporting.”

The exposure drafts are available on the GASB Web site. Stakeholders are encouraged to review and provide comments by Feb. 12 for Pension Issues, and by March 31 for the other two.

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