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FASB delays changes to MEPP disclosure rules

November 19 2010

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has announced it will delay plans to implement new disclosure rules for employers that participate in multiemployer pension plans (MEPPs).

Earlier this year FASB released Exposure Draft 715-80, which would require employers to include in their financial reporting statements new footnote disclosures about each MEPP in which they materially participate, including potential withdrawal liability, regardless of whether or not they intend to withdraw from the plan. The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC) believes the proposed accounting standards are seriously flawed because they will require disclosure of information that is two years out of date, is not auditable, and will ultimately be misleading to any end user of financial statements.

Over 60 organizations submitted comments to FASB regarding Exposure Draft 715-80, including the Campaign for Quality Construction (CQC), a legislative alliance between TAUC and five other union contractor trade associations. TAUC also participated in another coalition with the Groom Law Group, along with participants from a variety of other industries including trucking, entertainment, etc. In addition, TAUC signed on to the comments that were submitted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Because of the quick and concerted efforts of the business community, FASB announced on November 10 that it will delay the implementation of the disclosure standard in order to address the concerns raised by those who submitted comments. “The Board decided that a final standard will not be effective for the 2010 calendar year-end reporting period,” FASB said. “It will decide on an effective date at a future meeting, after it has substantially concluded its redeliberations.” According to FASB’s online technical plan, the Board plans to issue a final version of the disclosure standard in the second quarter of 2011.

“FASB’s decision to revisit the disclosure standard is welcome news for our member contractors,” said Todd Mustard, TAUC’s Senior Director of Government Affairs and Member Services. “Although FASB is still looking for additional disclosures as it relates to employers participation in multiemployer plans, we believe that the potential withdrawal liability reporting requirement is now off the table for good. These actions by FASB prove that by working together, we can make our voices heard. There’s still a lot of work to do, though, and TAUC will continue to go to bat for the union construction industry in 2011 and beyond.”

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