GASB tackles asset retirement, proposes implementation guide

The board's fund balance reporting standard gets a positive review.

GASB issued guidance for state and local governments to address asset retirement obligations related to tangible capital assets.

Statement No. 83, Certain Asset Retirement Obligations, sets guidance for determining the timing and pattern of recognition for liabilities and corresponding deferred outflow of resources related to asset retirement obligations.

The guidance would enhance comparability of financial statements among governments by establishing uniform criteria for governments to recognize and measure certain asset retirement obligations, GASB said. The requirements are effective for reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2018.

Clarifying statements

GASB also issued a proposed implementation guide that is intended to clarify, explain, or elaborate on statements the board has issued on state and local government financial reporting.

The proposed implementation guide addresses questions related to topics including accounting for pensions, cash flow statements, the reporting entity, certain investments, external investment pools, fund balance, and tax abatements.

The proposed guide also would amend previously issued implementation guidance. Comments were requested on the exposure draft of Implementation Guide No. 201X-Y, Implementation Guidance Update—201X, by Jan. 31. Comments can be emailed to director@gasb.org.

Positive review

GASB's standard for fund balance reporting and governmental fund type definitions for state and local governments achieves its purpose, a review panel found.

The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) issued a post-implementation review report on GASB Statement No. 54, Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions.

After consulting with stakeholders including auditors, preparers, financial statement users, and academics, the review team concluded that Statement No. 54 succeeded in making fund balance classifications easier to understand and in clarifying fund type definitions. Some stakeholders, though, indicated that under the standard it is difficult to distinguish between committed and assigned fund balances.

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