GASB addresses practice issues for new pension standards

The new guidance clarifies the board's requirements.

GASB has issued new guidance to address practice issues raised during implementation of the board's new pension accounting standards for state and local governments. The guidance contained in GASB Statement No. 82, Pension Issues, addresses practice issues related to the following GASB statements:

  • No. 67, Financial Reporting for Pension Plans.
  • No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions.
  • No. 73, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions and Related Assets That Are Not Within the Scope of GASB Statement 68.

The new statement requires the presentation in schedules of required supplementary information of covered payroll and ratios that use that measure. Previously, Statements No. 67 and No. 68 required presentation of covered-employee payroll and ratios that use that measure.

In addition, Statement No. 82 clarifies that a deviation, as the term is used in Actuarial Standards of Practice issued by the Actuarial Standards Board, from the guidance in an Actuarial Standard of Practice is not considered to conform with the requirements of Statement No. 67, Statement No. 68, or Statement No. 73 for the selection of assumptions used in determining the total pension liability and related measures.

Statement No. 82 also clarifies that payments that are made by an employer to satisfy contribution requirements that are identified by the pension plan terms as "plan member contribution requirements" should be classified as "plan member contributions" for purposes of Statement No. 67 and as "employee contributions" for purposes of Statement No. 68. Statement No. 82 also requires an employer's expense and expenditures for those amounts to be recognized in the period for which the contribution is assessed and classified in the same manner as the employer classifies similar compensation other than pensions (e.g., as salaries and wages or as fringe benefits).

Most of the new requirements take effect for reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2016, with earlier application encouraged.

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