The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board® (IPSASB®), developer of international accrual-based accounting standards for use by governments and other public sector entities around the world, has issued International Public Sector Accounting Standard® (IPSAS®) 49, Retirement Benefit Plans.

IPSAS 49 establishes comprehensive accounting and reporting requirements for the financial statements of retirement benefit plans, with participants comprising current and former public sector employees and other eligible members. The new pronouncement will bring increased transparency and accountability to these public sector entities, ensuring they can fulfill their obligations to employees and other eligible participants who are members of the retirement benefit plan.

In developing principles for this pronouncement, the private sector requirements in IAS 26 were used as the starting point. The IPSASB adapted IAS 26, based on feedback from stakeholders globally, to ensure the unique characteristics of the public sector are reflected in the pronouncement. In particular, some of the policy choices available in IAS 26 have been removed as they are not appropriate for the public sector or are inconsistent with existing IPSAS.

Commenting on this, IPSASB chair, Ian Carruthers, said: “Retirement benefit obligations can represent a significant but often hidden liability for the public sector.

“IPSAS 49 provides a principle-based approach to accounting by retirement benefit plans to provide a complete view of their financial activities, assets and obligations. This increased transparency is intended to result in stronger public financial management and better-informed decision making.”

The effective date of IPSAS 49 is 1 January, 2026, with earlier application permitted.

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