During these unprecedented times in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) is giving us a break. During March 2020, the GASB received requests from various governments and organizations to postpone the effective dates of the pronouncements that were to be implemented for both the current and upcoming fiscal years. The flood of requests stemmed from the unique circumstance that employees were now working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and additional time was needed in order to produce reliable and accurate financial information.
The GASB listened, and in response issued GASB Statement No. 95, Postponement of the Effective Dates of Certain Authoritative Guidance in May 2020. The objective of this Statement is to provide temporary relief to governments and other parties that fall under the scope of GASB and is effective immediately.
I’ve presented a long list below of the postponements, but the big news is the delay of the new lease accounting standard (No. 87). That one was going to affect almost every government.
Per the Standard, the effective dates of certain provisions contained in the following pronouncements are postponed by one year:
- Statement No. 83, Certain Asset Retirement Obligations, reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2019
- Statement No. 84, Fiduciary Activities and Implementation Guide 2019-2, reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2019
- Statement No. 88, Certain Disclosures Related to Debt, including Direct Borrowings and Direct Placements – reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2019
- Statement No. 89, Accounting for Interest Cost Incurred before the End of a Construction Period –reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2020
- Statement No. 90, Majority Equity Interests – reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2019
- Statement No. 91, Conduit Debt Obligations – reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2021
- Statement No. 92, Omnibus 2020:
- Paragraphs 6 and 7 – fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2021
- Paragraph 8, 9, and 12 – reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2021
- Paragraph 10 – government acquisitions occurring in reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2021
- Statement No. 93, Replacement of Interbank Offered Rates, paragraphs 13 and 14 – fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2021, and all reporting periods thereafter
- Implementation Guide No. 2017-3, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions (and Certain Issues Related to OPEB Plan Reporting):
- Questions 4.484 and 4.491 – the first reporting period in which the measurement date of the (collective) net OPEB liability is on or after June 15, 2019
- Questions 4.85, 4.103, 4.108, 4.109, 4.225, 4.239, 4.244, 4.245, and 5.1-5.4 – actuarial valuation as of December 15, 2018, or later
- Implementation Guide No. 2018-1, Implementation Guidance Update—2018 – reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2019
- Implementation Guide No. 2019-1, Implementation Guidance Update—2019 – reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2020
- Implementation Guide No. 2019-2, Fiduciary Activities – reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2019
The effective dates of the following pronouncements are postponed by 18 months:
- Statement No. 87, Leases and Implementation Guide 2019-3 – fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2021, and all reporting periods thereafter
This GASB Statement is “hot of the press” and there hasn’t been much time to process it. In all my years working in both the public and private accounting sectors, I’ve never seen anything quite like this pandemic and the effects of dealing with its impact. These are definitely interesting times we are living in, times that will be talked about for years to come. We will keep you informed in upcoming newsletters and seminars as more information on this Standard is provided by the GASB. In the meantime, breathe a sigh of relief and feel free to reach out with your thoughts and questions.
GASB Statement No. 95 can be read in its entirety on the GASB’s website, www.gasb.org.