GASB issues rules for accounting for certain debt extinguishment

Statement No. 86 applies in certain situations involving an irrevocable trust.

GASB issued a new standard for state and local governments to apply when accounting for extinguishment of debt prior to its maturity.

In Statement No. 86, Certain Debt Extinguishment Issues, GASB establishes rules for accounting for transactions in which cash and other monetary assets acquired with only existing resources are placed in an irrevocable trust for the sole purpose of extinguishing debt.

Current GASB standards already provide guidance for accounting and reporting when cash and other monetary assets acquired with the proceeds of refunding bonds are placed in a trust for the future repayment of outstanding debt.

The new GASB guidance addresses situations in which only existing resources (and no bond proceeds) are used to acquire cash and other monetary assets placed in a trust for the future repayment of outstanding debt.

The debt, cash, and other monetary assets placed in trust are no longer reported on the financial statements when debt is defeased in substance. But governments are required to disclose information in the notes to the financial statements about debt that has been defeased in substance.

In addition, Statement No. 86 provides guidance related to prepaid insurance on debt that is extinguished and notes to the financial statements for defeased debt.

The standard takes effect for reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2017, and GASB encourages earlier application.

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