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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.

This new standard outlines accounting and reporting requirements for the financial statements of retirement benefit plans, with participants including current and former public sector employees. This new IPSAS standard aims to provide greater comprehensibility and accountability to public sector entities, which means they are able to meet their obligations to employees and other eligible participants who are members of the retirement benefit plan.

The private sector requirements in IAS 26 were used as the starting point to develop the principles for this new standard. The IPSASB adapted IAS 26, based on feedback from relevant stakeholders around the world, to ensure the requirements of the public sector were adhered to and then implemented within the standard itself. In particular, some of the policy choices that are available in IAS 26 have been removed as they are not appropriate for the public sector or are not consistent with existing IPSAS.

"Retirement benefit obligations can represent a significant but often hidden liability for the public sector, said IPSASB Chair Ian Carruthers. "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 January 1, 2026, with earlier application permitted.

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