FASB changes employee benefit plan accounting

Three-part document is designed to reduce complexity.

FASB provided guidance designed to simplify accounting for employee benefit plans in a three-part document.

The guidance is contained in Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2015-12, Plan Accounting: Defined Benefit Pension Plans (Topic 960), Defined Contribution Pension Plans (Topic 962), Health and Welfare Benefit Plans (Topic 965): (Part I) Fully Benefit-Responsive Investment Contracts, (Part II) Plan Investment Disclosures, (Part III) Measurement Date Practical Expedient (consensuses of the Emerging Issues Task Force).

Part I of the ASU designates contract value as the only required measure for fully benefit-responsive investment contracts and applies only to reporting entities within the scope of Topics 962 and 965 that classify investments as fully benefit-responsive investment contracts.

In Part II of the ASU, FASB eliminated certain disclosures that previously were required for participant-directed investments and nonparticipant-directed investments. In Part III of the ASU, FASB established a practical expedient to permit plans to measure investments and investment-related accounts as of a month-end date that is closest to the plan's fiscal year end, when the fiscal period does not coincide with a month end.

The amendments in each part of the ASU take effect for fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2015, with earlier application permitted. The amendments in Parts I and II should be applied retrospectively for all financial statements presented. The amendments in Part III should be applied prospectively.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.