Accounting Update: GASB 74 and 75

January 25, 2016

OPEB (Other Post-employment Benefits) are benefits, other than pensions, that state and local governments provide to their retirees.  The most common of these benefits relate to healthcare, but life insurance, disability, legal and other benefits may also be provided.

In June 2015, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued two new Statements related to OPEB —  Statement 74:  Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans and Statement 75:  Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pension Plans.  These replace the requirements of Statements 43 and 57.

These standards are similar to the recent pension changes in that they are intended to provide a more comprehensive picture of what benefits have been promised to retirees and the actual costs associated with providing these benefits.  The standards will also change how the long-term obligation and annual costs of OPEB are measured. Additional requirements include GASB reporting entities to recognize their net liability on the face of the statements and provide additional note disclosures.

Statement 74, focusing on plan implementation issues, is effective for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2016 (fiscal year 2017 for June 30 year ends), and the implementation guide is expected to be issued in February 2017.  Statement 75, focusing on employer-specific requirements, is effective for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2017 (fiscal year 2018 for June 30 year ends), and the implementation guide is expected to be issued in November 2017.

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