The guidance in sections 22.214.171.124 through 126.96.36.199 focuses mostly on local governments participating in the State of Washington cost-sharing, multiple-employer pension plans. However, the concepts are also applicable to single employer plans.
This guidance is intended to assist local governments in the application of pension standards. Local governments must apply their own professional judgment to determine if this guidance is appropriate for their facts and circumstances and must draw their own conclusions about the proper application of pension standards. Entity management is solely responsible for the content of the financial statements. Each local government is responsible for evaluating the information used to recognize and disclose pension amounts in its financial statements. Preparers must understand the underlying accounting and reporting concepts for pensions and retain adequate supporting documentation for all amounts reported.
Steps and procedures to calculate the proportionate share of collective pension amounts
188.8.131.52 Step 1 – Get your data
Much of the financial data necessary to report pension balances will be obtained from the State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) at www.drs.wa.gov.
Download the Participating Employer Financial Information (PEFI) report from the Employers section of the website. This report is published annually, as of June 30, in the fall.
This report includes the Employer Allocation Schedules and the Schedules of Collective Pension Amounts for each pension plan.
Employer Allocation Schedules: Each separate plan presents a schedule of employer allocations. The schedules are sorted by allocation percentage, largest to smallest, and you will need to search each schedule for your local government’s name. Note that the PERS 1 and TRS 1 schedules have separate sections for both the regular allocation and the Plan 1 UAAL allocation. You will need both allocation percentages. If you have more than one DRS ORG ID number, you will need to combine the allocation percentages.
What is the Plan 1 UAAL?
Under RCW 41.45.060, part of the contributions for PERS 2/3, SERS 2/3, PSERS 2, and TRS 2/3 are contributed to PERS 1 and TRS 1 to fund the plans’ UAAL.
Employers have a responsibility to exercise due care in financial reporting and to verify and recalculate amounts specific to them. Use the DRS Employer Reporting Application (ERA) contribution reconciliation to verify the reasonableness of contributions used in the calculation of your proportionate share percentage. Note that the DRS calculates contributions based on the process date (the day after the transmittal date), not your reporting date. This may cause timing differences between your accounting records and the DRS.
Schedule of Collective Pension Amounts: The PEFI also includes the schedules of collective pension amounts for each plan. Employers will use the collective pension amounts and apply their proportionate share from the employer allocation schedules to determine their own share of pension amounts (i.e., net pension liability, deferred inflows/outflows). The use of this schedule is further disclosed below.
184.108.40.206 Measurement date
For all plans:
Actuarial valuations should be performed at least biennially. The valuation date can be no more than 30 months and 1 day prior to the employer’s reporting date. The pension liability should be measured as of a date (the measurement date) no earlier than the end of the employer’s prior fiscal year, consistently applied from year to year. When the valuation date is before the measurement date, update procedures must be used to roll forward the valuation to the measurement date for the employer’s reporting. There is no requirement to roll forward from the measurement date to the employer reporting date; neither is it prohibited. Professional judgment should be used to determine the specific update procedures to be used (the roll forward is usually done by the actuary).
|Earliest Available Valuation Date||
Earliest Available Measurement Date Employer Can Use
Employer Reporting Date
For DRS plans:
On the statement of net position, local governments will report a net pension liability or asset, deferred outflows and deferred inflows for the State plans in amounts that are measured as of June 30, (the measurement date). There is no need to “roll forward” these numbers to the employer’s reporting date. This is a concession made by the GASB to accommodate timely financial reporting.
Local governments with a reporting date of June 30, 2022 can use either the June 30, 2021 schedules or the June 30, 2020 schedules for their year-end balances. Local governments with a reporting date of December 31, 2022 will use the June 30, 2022 schedules for their year-end balances.
220.127.116.11 Step 2 – Calculate your numbers
See calculation templates for PERS 1, PERS 2, PSERS 2, LEOFF 1, and LEOFF 2 on the GAAP Pension Worksheet (found on the BARS Reporting Templates page).
The Schedules of Collective Pension Amounts for each plan are published near the back of the DRS report.
Important! Before 2018, the amounts in the schedules of collective pension amounts were presented in thousands. You needed to multiply the amounts by $1,000 to convert to whole dollars before calculating your individual amounts. Beginning with the June 30, 2018 PEFI, the amounts in the schedules of collective pension amounts are presented in whole dollars.
For each plan in which you participate, multiply the amounts in these schedules by your unique allocation percentage to calculate your entity’s share of each plan’s pension liability, deferred outflows and deferred inflows. Note that the percentages reported in the employer allocation schedules are percentages, not simple decimal amounts.
18.104.22.168 LEOFF – Special funding situation
LEOFF plans 1 and 2 include a special funding situation in which the State has a legal obligation to make contributions directly to the plans. Although the State makes the contributions, individual employers are required by GAAP to recognize pension expense and an equal amount of revenue for their share of these contributions.
LEOFF 1 is fully funded and there have been no contributions since the year 2000.
LEOFF 2: The total amount contributed by the State appears in the PEFI at the end of the LEOFF 2 Employer Allocation Schedule. Note that allocation percentages have not been calculated for individual employers and each individual employer must calculate their own share of the State’s total contributions.
Formula: From page 119 of the 2022 PEFI, State of Washington special funding allocation percentage (39.312221%) divided by total State of Washington employer allocations (60.687779%) = 64.575638%.
Example as of June 30, 2022: $1,138,148 (employers LEOFF 2 contributions) x 64.575638% = $734,966.
Intergovernmental Revenue (BARS 3350301)
Employers will also use this allocation percentage to calculate the State’s proportionate share of the net pension asset associated with the individual employer for their note disclosures (a requirement of GASB Statement 68, paragraph 80).
Example as of June 30, 2022: $33,162,907 (employer’s LEOFF 2 asset) x 64.575638% = $21,415,159 (State’s proportionate share of the net pension asset associated with the employer).
Contributions are no longer made to LEOFF 1 and so employers need only disclose in the notes the State’s proportionate share of the net pension asset associated with the employer.
Formula: From pages 108 and 109 of the 2022 PEFI, State of Washington special funding allocation percentage (87.12% divided by total State of Washington employer allocations (12.88%) = 676.397516%.
Example as of June 30, 2022: $5,049,107 (employer’s LEOFF 1 asset) x 676.397516% = $34,152,035 (State’s proportionate share of the net pension asset associated with the employer).
22.214.171.124 Overview of journal entries
Annual pension expense is not the cash contributions made to the plans. Contributions are a reduction of the pension liability. The pension accounting standards do not change statutory contribution rates or cash flow and we recommend that you do not change the way payments to the DRS are recorded in your accounting system. You may want to consider the use of a “contra” account in your accounting system to accumulate all of the debits and credits to pension expense that result from pension journal entries.
126.96.36.199 Step 3 – Year-end balances: journal entries for ending balances of collective pension amounts
See calculation templates for PERS 1, PERS 2, PSERS 2, LEOFF 1, and LEOFF 2 on the GAAP Pension Worksheet (found on the BARS Reporting Templates page).
You must perform these calculations for each plan in which you participate.
Note for local governments with a June 30 year end. These instructions assume that entities with a June 30 year end will use the June 30, 2021 PEFI and defer contributions from July 2021 through June 2022 (12 months). However, you have the option of using the June 30, 2022 PEFI with no deferral of contributions, if available in time to meet your SAO reporting requirements. Once a measurement date is selected (current vs. one year prior) local governments should not switch back and forth between the two dates over the years. This would be a change in accounting principle that would require a restatement of prior periods. When making your selection for the measurement date, keep in mind that there is no guarantee the current year’s PEFI will be available by your annual report deadline.
188.8.131.52 Deferred outflows/inflows
The following collective deferred outflows and inflows of resources are determined at the plan level:
- Net difference between projected and actual investment earnings on pension plan investments – amortized over five years
- Differences between expected and actual experience – amortized over the average expected remaining service lives of plan participants (amortization period provided by the DRS)
- Changes in actuarial assumptions – amortized over the average expected remaining service lives of plan participants (amortization period provided by the DRS)
Local governments will use their allocation percentages to calculate their individual proportionate shares of these deferred outflows and inflows. They will be amortized over the recognition periods published by the DRS in the PEFI.
There are two types of deferred outflows and inflows that must be calculated by individual employers:
- Employer’s contributions subsequent to the plan measurement date and up to the end of the employer’s reporting period must be reported as a deferred outflow of resources. State of Washington plans have a June 30 measurement date. Employers with a December 31 year end will defer the last six months of contributions. Due to the timing of the plan’s financial reports, employers with a June 30 year end will defer 12 months. These amounts are reversed in the following year when the new year-end amounts are deferred. For your calculations, use actual contributions to the plans. Contributions from PERS 2/3, SERS 2/3, and PSERS that go to PERS 1 should be reported as PERS 1 contributions.
- Changes in proportionate share and differences between actual employer contributions and proportionate share of contributions – amortized over the average expected remaining service lives of plan participants (amortization period provided by the DRS). The DRS uses actual contributions to determine proportionate share, and so differences between actual employer contributions and the proportionate share of contributions is expected to be rare. However, an employer’s proportionate share of each plan’s collective liability and deferred outflows/inflows is expected to change each year. The effect of that change should be calculated at the beginning of the period.
184.108.40.206 Restricted net position
There are three methods for calculating the restricted net position related to each individual pension plan’s net pension asset.
- SAO’s preferred method
The restricted net position is equal to the net pension asset, minus the deferred inflows, plus the deferred outflows. Only include the deferred inflows and deferred outflows for the pension plans that have a net pension asset.
- GASB’s preferred method
The restricted net position is equal to the net pension asset. Both deferred inflows and deferred outflows are excluded from the calculation.
- Final option
The restricted net position is equal to the net pension asset minus deferred inflows. Only include the deferred inflows for the pension plans that have a net pension asset. Deferred outflows are excluded from the calculation.
The method selected for the calculation of restricted net position should be consistent from year-to-year and should be disclosed in the Notes to the Financial Statements, Note 1 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies.
220.127.116.11 Change in proportionate share
If there is a change in proportion of the collective net pension liability since the prior measurement date, the net effect of that change on the employer’s proportionate shares of the collective net pension liability and collective deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources should be recognized in the employer’s pension expense, beginning in the current reporting period, using a systematic rational method over a closed period (expected remaining service lives).
The DRS will maintain and publish the amortization schedules for the collective deferred outflows/inflows (see the June 30 Participating Employer Financial Report). Individual employers must maintain their own amortization schedules for the deferred outflows/inflows that result from the changes in proportionate share. Note that the PERS 1, TRS 1, and LEOFF 1 have a recognition period of one year, as of the beginning of the measurement period. As a result, all changes in proportion for these plans are expensed in the current year with no need to amortize.
See the calculation of changes in proportionate share and amortization schedules on the GAAP Pension Worksheet (found on the BARS Reporting Templates page).
The provisions of GASB statements need not be applied to immaterial items. Governments may consider adopting an amortization threshold for their deferred outflows/inflows related to pensions. For example, amounts less than $500 could be expensed in the current year rather than amortized over many years.
18.104.22.168 Allocation of pension amounts to funds and activities
The pension accounting standards do not mention specific requirements for allocation of pension-related amounts to individual funds. However, basic governmental accounting principles (see GASB Codification 1500.102) require that long-term liabilities that are directly related to and expected to be paid from proprietary-type funds be reported in those funds.
You should allocate the net pension liability, deferred outflows/inflows, and pension expense among governmental vs. business-type activities and individual proprietary-type funds. The SAO does not prescribe any particular method. However, entities should consider a method similar to that prescribed by GASB Statement 68 for cost-sharing plans – “based on the manner in which contributions are assessed.” For example, allocating to funds and activities based on their proportionate share of actual employer contributions to the plan (employee contributions should not be included):
|Contributions by Fund:|
Many local governments with a PERS 1 liability do not have PERS 1 employees. We recommend you use your PERS 2 contributions to make the allocation. Other methods may also be acceptable based on individual facts and circumstances. The allocation methodology used by the local government should be disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.
In the statement of activities, pension expense for governmental activities should be further allocated by function. Pension liability, deferred outflows/inflows, and pension expense should be reported in each applicable proprietary fund.
22.214.171.124 Note disclosures and Required Supplementary Information
Note disclosures for State Sponsored Plans are available at Note X – Pensions – State Sponsored (DRS) Plans.
RSI instructions are available at BARS 4-7-3 Pension Plan Information.
126.96.36.199 Non-governmental pension plans
The accounting and financial reporting standards for non-governmental defined benefit pension plans are established in the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB Statement 78), Pensions Provided through Certain Multiple-Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plans.
Some local governments may provide pensions to their employees through a cost-sharing, multiple-employer defined benefit pension plan that:
(1) is not a state or local governmental plan,
(2) is used to provide defined benefit pensions to both employees of state or local governmental employers, and
(3) has no predominant state or local governmental employer (either individually or collectively with other state or local governmental employers that provide pensions through the plan).
A union sponsored pension plan is an example of a plan meeting these criteria. Participating employers report no pension liability, deferred outflows, or deferred inflows. Pension expense is equal to contributions to the plan.
Note disclosures for defined benefit plans are at Note X – Pension and/or OPEB Plans – Nongovernmental Plans. The only RSI required is a ten-year schedule of employer contributions.
For employers who contribute to non-governmental defined contribution plans, see Note X – Pension and/or OPEB Plans - Defined Contribution.
188.8.131.52 Local Government Pension and Other Benefit Trust Funds
Police and firefighters pension plans are established under the following RCWS:
- Chapter 41.16 RCW – Firefighters’ Relief and Pensions – 1947 ACT
- Chapter 41.18 RCW – Firefighters’ Relief and Pensions – 1955 ACT
- Chapter 41.20 RCW – Police Relief and Pensions in First Class Cities
GASB Statements 67/68 are applicable only to pension plans that are administered through trusts or equivalent arrangements in which:
a. Contributions from employers to the pension plan and earnings on those contributions are irrevocable. Irrevocability is understood to mean that an employer no longer has ownership or control of the assets, except for any reversionary right once all benefits have been paid. Assets may flow from an employer to the plan, but not from the plan to an employer unless and until all obligations to pay benefits in accordance with the plan terms have been satisfied by payment or by defeasance with no remaining risk regarding the amounts to be paid or the value of plan assets (implementation guide Q&A No. 6). Refunds of the non-vested portion of employer contributions that are forfeited by plan members are consistent with this criterion.
b. Pension plan assets are dedicated to providing pensions to plan members in accordance with benefit terms. The use of pension plan assets to pay plan administrative costs or to refund plan member contributions is consistent with this criterion. The commingling of pension and OPEB assets in the same trust is not consistent with this criterion.
c. Pension plan assets are legally protected from the creditors of employers, the plan administrator and plan members.
Pay-as-you-go funding is not a qualifying trust.
Depending upon how individual local governments have established their pre-LEOFF I police and firefighter plans, they may or may not meet the criteria of GASB Statements 67/68. Local governments that have these plans should carefully review all legislation establishing and modifying the plans and consult with their legal counsel regarding the status of the plans.
Under GASB Statement 73, the pension trust fund cannot be reported as a fiduciary fund. It should be rolled into the general fund for financial statement reporting.