[Timber Deposits or Credits: Inclusion in Annual Payments to States]

B-226692: Apr 29, 1988

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The Department of Agriculture (USDA) requested a decision concerning whether it could: (1) include advance deposits or credits for timber removal in annual payments to states pursuant to a legislative requirement; or (2) alternatively, phase out its payment procedures. GAO held that USDA: (1) could not include deposits or credits in annual payments to states, since under the applicable federal accounting standards such deposits were considered as liabilities; and (2) did not provide sufficient information regarding the proposed accounting changes. Accordingly, USDA should not include advance deposits or credits in annual payments to states for timber sales until the deposits or credits are earned or offset.