GASB proposes accounting guidance for CARES Act aid

By Ken Tysiac

GASB issued a proposed technical bulletin Thursday to assist state and local governments in their accounting for funds received as a result of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, P.L. 116-136.

The exposure draft, Accounting and Financial Reporting Issues Related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) of 2020 and Coronavirus Diseases, would clarify how existing recognition requirements apply to resources received from certain programs established by the CARES Act.

The proposal also would clarify how existing presentation requirements apply to certain inflows of CARES Act resources and to the unplanned and additional outflows of resources incurred in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Comments can be made through June 25 by emailing GASB plans to issue a final technical bulletin by June 30.

The CARES Act was established by the federal government to assist the nation through the economic fallout related to the coronavirus pandemic. CARES Act programs that have provided funds to organizations that report under GASB standards include:

  • The Coronavirus Relief Fund, which provided $150 billion to states, Tribal governments, and certain eligible local governments for expenses related to the coronavirus public health emergency.
  • The Provider Relief Fund, which provided $175 billion to hospitals and health care organizations on the front lines of the coronavirus response.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program, which provided $659 billion ($349 billion included in the CARES Act, plus $310 billion in the subsequent Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, P.L. 116-139) to small businesses that were in operation on Feb. 15 with 500 or fewer employees, including tax-exempt not-for-profits, veterans’ organizations, Tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors.

GASB’s proposed technical bulletin provides questions and answers related to accounting for those funds.

For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the pandemic, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page.

Ken Tysiac ( is the JofA’s editorial director.

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