GASB proposes pension standards relief for certain governments

By Ken Tysiac

GASB is moving to provide relief to certain governments with multiple-employer defined benefit pension plans that have struggled to comply with the board’s new pension standards for state and local governments.

Some governments whose employees receive pension benefits through multiple-employer pension plans have found it challenging or impossible to obtain certain measurements and data points needed to comply with the requirements of GASB Statement No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions.

GASB issued a proposal Wednesday in response to these concerns. In the exposure draft, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions Provided Through Certain Multiple-Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plans, GASB proposes to assist these governments.

The proposal would focus employer accounting and financial reporting requirements for pensions on information that is obtainable for those governments. The proposal would establish separate standards for employers that participate in pension plans that meet the criteria presented in the proposal.

Under the proposal, these employers would have separate standards for:

  • 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 proposed guidance 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.

“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 news release.

Ken Tysiac (ktysiac@aicpa.org) is a JofA editorial director.

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