GASB Makes OPEB Exposure Drafts Available

June 16, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has released exposure drafts on other post-employment benefits (OPEB).

Approved on May 28, two of the exposure drafts cover proposals for improvements to accounting and financial reporting for non-pension benefits that U.S. state and local governments provide to their retired employees. These OPEBs can include retiree health care benefits, as well as life insurance, disability, legal and other services (see “GASB to Propose Improvements to OPEB Reporting”).

More specifically, the first exposure draft, “Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions,” proposes guidance for reporting by governments that provide OPEB to their employees and for governments that finance OPEB for employees of other employers. The second exposure draft, “Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans,” addresses the reporting by the OPEB plans that administer those benefits.

The GASB has also released a third exposure draft, this one proposing the establishment of requirements for pensions and pension plans that are outside the scope of the pension standards the GASB released in 2012. “Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions and Financial Reporting for Pension Plans That Are Not Administered through Trusts That Meet Specified Criteria, and Amendments to Certain Provisions of GASB Statements 67 and 68” would complete the pension standards by establishing requirements for those pensions and pension plans that are not administered through a trust meeting specified criteria.

All three exposure drafts are available to download at no charge.

To help users, preparers, and auditors of financial statements familiarize themselves with these exposure drafts, the GASB is making use of an OPEB web page with “plain English” resources, which include:

  • An article outlining the key ways that the OPEB proposals/exposure drafts will change how governments calculate and report the costs and obligations associated with OPEB;
  • An article oriented to financial statement users that addresses how the proposed changes would affect the information that users receive about a government’s OPEB;
  • A video featuring GASB Chairman David Vaudt discussing the key principles of the OPEB proposals;
  • A fact sheet answering frequently asked questions; and
  • The summary and the full text of the proposals.

The GASB is encouraging feedback from stakeholders via a number of forums. First, stakeholders should review the proposals and provide comments by August 29. Second, the GASB will host public hearings on the proposals on September 10, 11 and 12. Details are highlighted in each exposure draft document.

The GASB will also be conducting webinars about the proposals. A CPE (continuing professional education) webinar will take place on July 30 at 1 p.m. ET. A webinar for financial statement users will be held on August 8 at 1 p.m. ET, followed by a survey to collect feedback from users about the proposed standards. More information can be found on the OPEB web page.

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board is an independent, nonprofit organization that establishes and improves financial accounting and reporting standards for state and local governments.

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