Summary of Statement No. 90

Statement No. 90
Majority Equity Interests—an amendment of GASB Statements No. 14 and No. 61)
(Issued 08/18)

The primary objectives of this Statement are to improve the consistency and comparability of reporting a government’s majority equity interest in a legally separate organization and to improve the relevance of financial statement information for certain component units. It defines a majority equity interest and specifies that a majority equity interest in a legally separate organization should be reported as an investment if a government’s holding of the equity interest meets the definition of an investment. A majority equity interest that meets the definition of an investment should be measured using the equity method, unless it is held by a special-purpose government engaged only in fiduciary activities, a fiduciary fund, or an endowment (including permanent and term endowments) or permanent fund. Those governments and funds should measure the majority equity interest at fair value.

For all other holdings of a majority equity interest in a legally separate organization, a government should report the legally separate organization as a component unit, and the government or fund that holds the equity interest should report an asset related to the majority equity interest using the equity method. This Statement establishes that ownership of a majority equity interest in a legally separate organization results in the government being financially accountable for the legally separate organization and, therefore, the government should report that organization as a component unit.

This Statement also requires that a component unit in which a government has a 100 percent equity interest account for its assets, deferred outflows of resources, liabilities, and deferred inflows of resources at acquisition value at the date the government acquired a 100 percent equity interest in the component unit. Transactions presented in flows statements of the component unit in that circumstance should include only transactions that occurred subsequent to the acquisition.

Effective Date and Transition

The requirements of this Statement are effective for reporting periods beginning after December 15, [2019]. Earlier application is encouraged. The requirements should be applied retroactively, except for the provisions related to (1) reporting a majority equity interest in a component unit and (2) reporting a component unit if the government acquires a 100 percent equity interest. Those provisions should be applied on a prospective basis.

How the Changes in This Statement Will Improve Financial Reporting

The requirements of this Statement will improve financial reporting by providing users of financial statements with essential information related to presentation of majority equity interests in legally separate organizations that previously was reported inconsistently. In addition, requiring reporting of information about component units if the government acquires a 100 percent equity interest provides information about the cost of services to be provided by the component unit in relation to the consideration provided to acquire the component unit.

How the Board Considered Costs and Benefits in the Development of This Statement

One of the principles guiding the Board’s setting of standards for accounting and financial reporting is the assessment of expected benefits and perceived costs. The Board strives to determine that its standards address significant user needs and that the costs incurred through the application of its standards, compared with possible alternatives, are justified when compared to the expected overall public benefit. The Board believes that the expected benefits that will result from the information provided through implementation of this Statement—more consistent and comparable information about majority equity interests held by governments and more relevant information for certain component units—justify potential initial and ongoing costs.

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.