Beginning in FY 2026, estimated federal government land acreage—categorized by usage—will be reported in audited federal financial statements.
To prepare for the transition to this requirement, agencies have been required to report land acreage as unaudited information in their annual financial reports since FY 2022.
We worked with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency to develop this guidance for FY 2024 and FY 2025 audits that can help identify challenges in preparing and auditing information about government land.
What GAO Found
This audit guidance provides procedures to be applied to the reporting of government land by auditors performing audits of federal entities' financial statements for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. In July 2021, the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board issued Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS) 59, Accounting and Reporting of Government Land. SFFAS 59 addresses the accounting and reporting of (1) general property, plant, and equipment land and permanent land rights (referred to as G-PP&E land) and (2) stewardship land and land rights (referred to as stewardship land).
Generally, G-PP&E land has been required to be reported on the balance sheet at historical cost and stewardship land has been required to be disclosed in the notes to the financial statements, based on the number of physical units with no related cost information. In SFFAS 59, the Board determined that reporting estimated acres of both G-PP&E land and stewardship land in the notes to the financial statements would increase transparency, comparability, consistency, and reliability of land information while minimizing burden and costs. As this was a significant change in the accounting and reporting of government land, the Board established an implementation period in which the new requirements would first be reported as unaudited required supplementary information (RSI) for fiscal years 2022 through 2025.
This time would allow preparers and auditors to identify implementation challenges and allow agencies to prepare for the transition of land information from RSI to note disclosures in fiscal year 2026. To further these efforts, GAO developed this audit guidance, in cooperation with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).
Why GAO Did This Study
The audit procedures in this guidance are designed to obtain additional information for fiscal years 2024 and 2025 to (1) better understand the extent to which measurement and presentation of land information is consistent with SFFAS 59 and (2) identify any preparation and audit challenges related to reporting government land.
The Board plans to consider preparation and audit challenges that preparers and auditors have identified during the transition, and, as appropriate, take actions to address them before the information transitions to the note disclosures.
For more information, contact Dawn Simpson at (202) 512-3406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.