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Business and Policy Areas
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GASB Issues Exposure Draft on Impairment of Capital Assets

February 13, 2003

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) published the Exposure Draft “Accounting and Financial Reporting for Impairment of Capital Assets and for Insurance Recoveries” in December. The proposed standard calls for reporting the effects of capital impairments upon occurrence and providing consistency in accounting for insurance recoveries.

In regard to capital asset impairment, governments would be required to evaluate prominent events or changes in circumstances affecting such assets. Impaired capital assets no longer to be used would be reported at the lower of carrying value or fair value. Impairments must be considered permanent to qualify for a write-down, and such losses would be reported in accordance with the guidance of GASB Statements 34 and 35. Impairment losses not obvious from the face of the financial statements will need to be disclosed.

The Exposure Draft also addresses guidance for insurance recoveries. The recommended guidance applies to all recoveries, not just those associated with the impairment of capital assets. However, recoveries associated with events or changes in circumstances resulting in the impairment of capital assets would be netted with the impairment loss. Recoveries that are not apparent on the financial statements will need to be disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.

The Exposure Draft is available on the GASB Web site. NACUBO encourages members to submit comment letters to the GASB by the February 28 deadline. The NACUBO contact for questions or feedback is Sue Menditto, manager: accounting & finance programs, (202) 861-2542, susan.meditto@nacubo.org.