GASB addresses practice issues arising from COVID-19 pandemic

GASB has been addressing concerns about the stakeholder impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and provide relief to governments and other stakeholders and to assist them in identifying accounting and financial reporting guidance.

Postponement of effective dates

The Board is reviewing a proposed Statement that would postpone the effective dates of provisions in certain pronouncements and will consider releasing it for public comment during the April 14, 2020, teleconference meeting.

The proposal tentatively has identified provisions that became effective or will become effective for reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2018, through Statement No. 92, Omnibus 2020, and Implementation Guide No. 2019-3, Leases. Most notably, that includes Statement No. 84, Fiduciary Activities, and Statement No. 87, Leases, as well as their related Implementation Guides. In all, the draft would postpone the effective dates of provisions in eight Statements and five Implementation Guides. The Exposure Draft continues the encouragement of early implementation, which is important to governments that already have implemented some of those provisions or intend to proceed with implementation under the original effective dates.

In its active standards-setting activities, GASB also has considered or is considering lengthening effective dates. During its March 2020 meeting, GASB approved Statement No. 94, Public-Private and Public-Public Partnerships and Availability Payment Arrangements, which includes an extended effective date of reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2022, one year later than had been originally proposed. GASB will consider similar changes as it reviews upcoming drafts of final Statements (such as for subscription-based information technology arrangements) and due process documents (most notably, an Exposure Draft from the Financial Reporting Model Reexamination project).

Impact on other standards-setting activities

GASB has decided to extend to June 30, 2020, the comment deadline for the Exposure Draft of a Proposed Concepts Statement, Communication Methods in General Purpose External Financial Reports That Contain Basic Financial Statements: Notes to Financial Statements. GASB also will postpone the public hearing on the document. The hearing has been tentatively rescheduled to July 28, 2020.

The Board also has instituted a hiatus for planned stakeholder research activities, such as interviews and surveys, until at least June 1 (for pre-agenda research) and at least July 1 (for Post-Implementation Review).

“Toolbox” coming soon

GASB soon will be posting a “toolbox” on its website to assist governments and other stakeholders to identify the guidance that they can draw on to address the issues they are facing during this difficult period.

In the meantime, GASB encourages stakeholders to connect by using its web resources, including GASB’s technical inquiry service, through which stakeholders can submit questions directly to GASB staff regarding standards implementation or other issues.

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