The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued an update to its accounting standards codification, titled “Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost.”
The Board says it is issuing the update primarily to improve the presentation of net periodic pension cost and net periodic post-retirement benefit cost. It notes that Topic 715, Compensation—Retirement Benefits, does not prescribe where the amount of net benefit cost should be presented in an employer’s income statement and does not require entities to disclose by line item the amount of net benefit cost that is included in the income statement or capitalized in assets.
FASB explains that many stakeholders observed that the presentation of defined benefit cost on a net basis combines elements that are heterogeneous. As such, these stakeholders stated that the current presentation requirement is less transparent, reduces the decision usefulness of the financial information, and requires users to incur greater costs in analyzing financial statements.
The amendments in the update require that an employer report the service cost component in the same line item or items as other compensation costs arising from services rendered by the pertinent employees during the period. The other components of net benefit cost as defined in paragraphs 715-30-35-4 and 715-60-35-9 are required to be presented in the income statement separately from the service cost component and outside a subtotal of income from operations, if one is presented. If a separate line item or items are used to present the other components of net benefit cost, that line item or items must be appropriately described.
If a separate line item or items are not used, the line item or items used in the income statement to present the other components of net benefit cost must be disclosed. The amendments in the update also allow only the service cost component to be eligible for capitalization when applicable (for example, as a cost of internally manufactured inventory or a self-constructed asset).
The amendments require that an employer disaggregate the service cost component from the other components of net benefit cost. The amendments also provide explicit guidance on how to present the service cost component and the other components of net benefit cost in the income statement and allow only the service cost component of net benefit cost to be eligible for capitalization.
FASB says the amendments improve the consistency, transparency, and usefulness of financial information to users that have communicated that the service cost component generally is analyzed differently from the other components of net benefit cost.
FASB’s statement is here