U.S. Government Standard General Ledger Issues Resolution Committee (IRC) Meeting Minutes
September 10, 2009
Kathy Winchester (FMS) opened the meeting and reviewed the agenda. She stated that the General Services Administration (GSA) requested assistance with the reporting method for vehicles purchased using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds. The USSGL staff has been working to develop alternative options to report this activity. The staff was concerned with GSA recording assets transferred in as its assets when another entity holds the title. The IRC must determine which agency should report the gains or losses and which options are viable for agencies and GSA implementation. Kathy added that this program is already in place for 2009 and that the guidance must be made available as soon as possible. Ultimately, the decision rests with agencies and their inspectors general. If agencies need more clarification, they should request that the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) issue further guidance. Unfortunately, no GSA representative was present to participate in the discussion.
Sherry Pontell (FMS) started the meeting and provided background information on the GSA Vehicle Transfer Program. GSA received an appropriation of $300 million as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It will use the funds to replace old Federal fleet cars with newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles. This will help to stimulate the economy, especially the automobile industry. Agencies will turn in their old vehicles to GSA, and GSA will transfer the new vehicles and ownership titles to agencies. However, agencies will hold the titles for the old vehicles until GSA sells them.
Christine Chang (FMS) reviewed a flowchart illustrating ownership of the vehicles. She also reviewed four reporting options. Only Option C allowed agencies to recognize gains or losses when GSA sold the old vehicles. The other options allowed GSA to recognize the gains or losses when it sold the old vehicles.
Sherry reviewed Option A, which was originally proposed by GSA. In Option A, GSA records the old vehicles as GSA assets when the vehicles are transferred in from the agencies, even though the agencies hold the titles. The USSGL staff did not agree with this option because GSA recognizes an asset prior to receiving the ownership title. Eileen Parlow (FASAB) agreed. She stated that recording a gain from the sale of the old vehicles for which GSA does not hold the ownership titles would be difficult to justify to the GSA auditors. Don Geiger (Interior) said that the Department of Interior transfers the title concurrent with the transfer of the old vehicle to GSA. Parker Hill (Interior) also stated that the GSA property department informed him that the agency must transfer the titles concurrent with the transfer of the old vehicles to GSA. Christine reported that during the USSGL Division's meeting with GSA, GSA was adamant that agencies hold the old vehicle titles until GSA sold the vehicles, even though GSA had physical possession of the vehicles. She read a GSA memo that supported this policy. GSA must provide clarification on the title issue.
Next, the IRC discussed Option B. Option B allows the agencies to record the old vehicles that are transferred to GSA as "nonentity" assets. Eileen pointed out that according to SFFAS No. 1, paragraph 26, agencies should recognize an amount equal to the nonentity asset as a liability. Therefore, instead of crediting USSGL account 5720, "Financing Sources Transferred In Without Reimbursements," agencies should record the non-entity asset as a liability to USSGL account 2985, "Liability for Non-Entity Assets Not Reported on the Statement of Custodial Activity." Some IRC members were concerned about overstating the asset and the liability if both agencies and GSA record the same asset as an entity and nonentity asset. However, because the agencies and GSA will report a corresponding liability with the non-entity asset, the net position of GSA and the Financial Report of the United States Government should not be impacted. Christine asked if the agencies should report imputed cost/financing sources for the new vehicles received. The IRC thought that recognition of imputed cost is not applicable in this case since agencies are capitalizing the value of the new vehicle.
Further discussions led to the issue of which agency should report the gains and losses from the sales. The IRC determined that the agency holding the ownership title should report the gains and losses from the vehicle sales. The IRC could not determine whether the gains recorded by the agency should be considered as exchange or nonexchange transactions. They will need to do further research.See the updates to Option B.
Kim Klein (DOE) stated that the USSGL staff may need to include an example in the scenario of a situation in which agencies transfer both the titles and the old vehicles to GSA concurrently.
The IRC determined that reviewing Options C and D was not necessary.
For the next meeting, GSA must clarify which agencies have the titles and whether the agencies should report the gains or losses from the sales of the old vehicles on their Statement of Net Cost or Statement of Changes in Net Position.
Kathy thanked everyone for attending and stated that the USSGL staff will update the scenario to include the changes. They will follow up with GSA and get back to agencies.
Kathy Winchester, FMS