Summary of Statement No. 61

Statement No. 61
The Financial Reporting Entity: Omnibus—an amendment of GASB Statements No. 14 and No. 34
(Issued 11/10)

The objective of this Statement is to improve financial reporting for a governmental financial reporting entity. The requirements of Statement No. 14, The Financial Reporting Entity, and the related financial reporting requirements of Statement No. 34, Basic Financial Statements—and Management’s Discussion and Analysis—for State and Local Governments, were amended to better meet user needs and to address reporting entity issues that have arisen since the issuance of those Statements.

This Statement modifies certain requirements for inclusion of component units in the financial reporting entity. For organizations that previously were required to be included as component units by meeting the fiscal dependency criterion, a financial benefit or burden relationship also would need to be present between the primary government and that organization for it to be included in the reporting entity as a component unit. Further, for organizations that do not meet the financial accountability criteria for inclusion as component units but that, nevertheless, should be included because the primary government’s management determines that it would be misleading to exclude them, this Statement clarifies the manner in which that determination should be made and the types of relationships that generally should be considered in making the determination.

This Statement also amends the criteria for reporting component units as if they were part of the primary government (that is, blending) in certain circumstances. For component units that currently are blended based on the “substantively the same governing body” criterion, it additionally requires that (1) the primary government and the component unit have a financial benefit or burden relationship or (2) management (below the level of the elected officials) of the primary government have operational responsibility (as defined in paragraph 8a) for the activities of the component unit. New criteria also are added to require blending of component units whose total debt outstanding is expected to be repaid entirely or almost entirely with resources of the primary government. The blending provisions are amended to clarify that funds of a blended component unit have the same financial reporting requirements as a fund of the primary government. Lastly, additional reporting guidance is provided for blending a component unit if the primary government is a business-type activity that uses a single column presentation for financial reporting.

This Statement also clarifies the reporting of equity interests in legally separate organizations. It requires a primary government to report its equity interest in a component unit as an asset.

The provisions of this Statement are effective for financial statements for periods beginning after June 15, 2012. Earlier application is encouraged.

How the Changes in This Statement Improve Financial Reporting

The requirements of this Statement result in financial reporting entity financial statements being more relevant by improving guidance for including, presenting, and disclosing information about component units and equity interest transactions of a financial reporting entity.

The amendments to the criteria for including component units allow users of financial statements to better assess the accountability of elected officials by ensuring that the financial reporting entity includes only organizations for which the elected officials are financially accountable or that are determined by the government to be misleading to exclude.

The amendments to the criteria for blending improve the focus of a financial reporting entity on the primary government by ensuring that the primary government includes only those component units that are so intertwined with the primary government that they are essentially the same as the primary government, and by clarifying which component units have that characteristic.
For primary governments that are business-type activities reporting in a single column, the guidance for reporting blended component units allows users to better distinguish between the primary government and its component units by requiring condensed combining information to be included in the notes to the financial statements.

Lastly, the requirements for reporting equity interests in component units help ensure that primary government financial statements do not understate their financial position and provide for more consistent and understandable display of those equity interests.

Unless otherwise specified, pronouncements of the GASB apply to financial reports of all state and local governmental entities, including general purpose governments; public benefit corporations and authorities; public employee retirement systems; and public utilities, hospitals and other healthcare providers, and colleges and universities. Paragraph 2 discusses the applicability of this Statement.