9. Other disclosures

Special accounts 

FRR section 48 – Special accounts

This section of the FRR sets out reporting and disclosure requirements for special accounts.

Some entities have special accounts with the power to invest either delegated by the Finance Minister (under section 58 of the PGPA Act) or under a provision in another Act of Parliament. Subsection 48(9) of the FRR requires an entity that uses such a special account to invest, in the financial year in which transactions occur, to disclose in the special account note the:

Relevant money invested from the special account as a gross decrease. Proceeds from the investment credited to the special account as a gross increase.

Where investments have already been made from a special account, but there are no transactions with the special account during a financial year:

  • the invested amounts are not included in the balance in the special accounts disclosure note for that financial year
  • entities should include a footnote disclosing the fair value of the investments made from the special account.

Appropriations that have been received and recognised as income by an entity and are subsequently transferred to a special account of that entity are not to be recognised again as income to that entity. These transfers are internal transfers.

Where a special account has not been used during the current and the comparative reporting periods, the entity may make footnote disclosures in the special accounts note, instead of disclosing that special account, including:

  • the title of the special account
  • the purpose of the special account
  • the authority under which the special account was established
  • a statement noting the fact that the special account has not been used during the current and the comparative reporting periods
  • the balance of the special account.

For other items include:

  • each special account – must have separate disclosure for expenditure that is departmental or administered in nature
  • Comcare receipts – amounts received from Comcare for workers compensation to be provided to employees can be retained (see RMG-307 Retainable receipts)
  • assets held in trust and unidentified receipts  assets held in trust that form part of the balance of a special account must also be reported in compliance with section 31 of the FRR. Information on this requirement and for unidentified receipts can be found under Assets held in trust.

Statutory credits

A statutory credit is a provision in an Act that allows the balance of a special account (and hence the associated appropriation) to be increased, provided certain conditions are met. A statutory credit does not usually involve the receipt of funds from another appropriation (annual appropriation or special appropriation), from outside the entity or from parties outside of government (including another government) – it is a self‑executing transaction.

A statutory credit provision is not:

  • in itself a separate special appropriation
  • a financial instrument and therefore not required in financial instrument disclosures.

The entity is to record the statutory credit received as ‘cash in the Official Public Account (OPA)’ with the corresponding accounting entry against equity (administered) or appropriation receivable (departmental). There is no requirement to separately disclose appropriation increases that have resulted from the execution of a statutory credit provision.

Disclosure of special account balances

Entities should record all special account related funds held in their departmental receipts and payments bank account as cash in the:

  • statement of financial position
  • cash flow statement
  • financial assets note
  • special accounts note.

Reporting entities should disclose all special account related funds held in their administered receipts and administered payments bank accounts as cash at bank in the:

  • administered schedule of assets and liabilities
  • administered cash flow statement
  • administered reconciliation schedule
  • administered – financial assets note
  • special accounts note.

Administered receipts relating to a special account and remitted by an entity to the OPA, should be treated as cash equivalents in the entity’s:

  • administered schedule of assets and liabilities
  • administered cash flow statement
  • administered reconciliation schedule
  • administered – financial assets note
  • special accounts note.

The balance of the OPA (incorporating balances of special accounts transferred by entities to the OPA) is disclosed as appropriate by Finance, on behalf of the whole of government in its financial statements as cash/cash equivalents in the administered schedule of assets, and liabilities and administered – financial assets note.

Special account balances held in the OPA (excluding trust amounts) are to be included in the financial instrument disclosure note under AASB 9. There is a contractual right to receive cash and this is therefore a financial instrument and a financial asset to the entity. While amounts may be held in the OPA, receipts collected and subsequent payments are distinct from contributions to entities via appropriation funding.

Special account balances held by an entity in a bank account (excluding trust amounts) are to be included in the financial instrument disclosure note. Under AASB 9, a cash deposit held in a bank account creates a contractual right to receive cash and is therefore a financial instrument and a financial asset to the entity.

Reporting of outcomes 

Note: Reporting of outcomes in the financial statements only applies to Tier 1 reporting entities.

Under AASB 108 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors (AASB 108), reclassification of an item between outcomes may result in a change in accounting policy and require:

  • restatement of comparative data
  • disclosure in the notes of entities’ financial statements, in accordance with AASB 108.

Outcomes tables

AASB 1050 Administered Items and AASB 1052 Disaggregated Disclosures (AASB 1052) use the term ‘activities’ that generally equates to the term ‘outcomes’ for departmental and administered items.

Paragraph 16 of AASB 1052 requires the disclosure of departmental assets and liabilities to each major activity where they are reasonably attributable – this guide includes the same disclosure for administered assets and liabilities. Where particular assets and liabilities cannot be reliably attributed, this matter is to be determined through professional judgement.

Accountable authorities are required to disclose the following information:

  • expenses, income, assets and liabilities at the outcome level (however, entities may choose to report some or all of this information at a lower level)
  • major classes applicable to the disclosing entity.

Administered income does not include administered appropriations (subsection 41(3) of the FRR).

Payments to corporate Commonwealth entities (CCEs) are not related to the paying entity’s outcomes and, therefore, these are not attributed. These need to be included in the disclosures for completeness.

Outcome disclosures need to agree to the:

  • corresponding totals in the entity’s statement of comprehensive income
  • statement of financial position and administered schedules.

This means the disclosure note may need to include items not allocated to an outcome.

Outcomes reporting for Tier 2 entities

Tier 2 entities are not required to present outcome reports in their financial statements. All entities are expected to present relevant disaggregated disclosures in the body of their annual report. For more information, see RMG-135 Annual reports for non-corporate Commonwealth entities (RMG-135).

Regulatory charging 

FRR section 34A – Regulatory charging

This section of the FRR sets out reporting requirements for regulatory charging activities.

Following the introduction of the Australian Government Charging Framework, the note referred to in section 34A of the FRR relates to regulatory charging activities only. All regulatory charging activities must be reported, regardless of their financial value.

The FRR sets out the requirements for reporting regulatory charging activities. To provide users with further information, entities can also:

  • provide information relating to amounts written off
  • provide link(s) to the websites containing relevant cost recovery documentation.

Financial information:

  • needs to be prepared as an aggregate (that is, the total of the entity’s regulatory charging activities)
  • is a subset of information contained elsewhere in the financial statements (for example, the external revenue reported in this note is a subset of the entity’s total external revenue)
  • is also reported in the Digital Annual Reporting Tool (see RMG-135 and RMG-136 Annual report for corporate Commonwealth entities (RMG-136)).

Where entities do not manage all parts of the regulatory charging activity (for example, deliver the activity but do not collect receipts or vice versa), entities need to disclose those parts of the activity that they manage.

Resource and commercial charging activities do not need to be reported, nor do inter‑government or intra-government charges.

Reference to other entities involved in the activity needs to be included in the 'regulatory charging activities'. For more information, see PRIMA forms or email chargingpolicy@finance.gov.au.

Guidance to assist in completing PRIMA forms

Regulatory charging summary disclosure note

The reporting of ‘appropriations applied’ (for non-corporate Commonwealth entities (NCEs)) and ‘payments from portfolio bodies’ (for CCEs) is to provide a connection between the external receipts collected and the amount appropriated to the entity to undertake the regulatory charging activity:

  • CCEs need to complete the ‘payments from portfolio bodies’ line, as shown in PRIMA forms, to report any funding received via their portfolio department to undertake regulatory charging activities
  • NCEs need to complete the relevant appropriation line(s).

Total amounts expensed and external revenue recognised:

  • can be attributed to regulatory charging activities
  • are split between departmental and administered items
  • are also reported in the Digital Annual Reporting Tool (see RMG-135 and RMG-136).

Revenue only relates to revenue that can be attributed to external sources (that is, it does not include appropriation revenue).

CCEs need to complete the ‘payments to portfolio departments’ line, as shown in PRIMA forms, if they collect revenue on behalf of the Commonwealth and return receipts to the consolidated revenue fund (CRF), such as through their portfolio department.

‘Amounts written off’ allow entities to provide information about whether receivables are being recovered. Entities need to report any receivables that have been written off, consistent with PGPA Act requirements. Amounts written off comprise receivables only, and are split between departmental and administered items.

‘Regulatory charging activities’ allows entities to list the regulatory charging activities that are reported in the note and direct readers to more detailed information. All regulatory charging activities reported in this note are to be listed, accompanied by link(s) to the web location of relevant documentation (for example, a link to the entity’s published Cost Recovery Implementation Statement(s)).

Budgetary reporting

Entities need to exercise professional judgement in explaining variances, particularly where variance explanations are of a security or sensitive nature. Under paragraph 15 of AASB 1055 Budgetary Reporting (AASB 1055), explanations are to focus on a high-level explanation of the cause, not merely the nature, of the major variance(s) and are not to simply focus on the numerical difference between the original budget and the actual amounts.

NFP entities in the general government sector (GGS) are to disclose:

  • the original budgeted financial statements presented to parliament, with
  • explanations for major variances between the actual amounts presented in the financial statements that corresponds with information in the original Budget.

Entity financial statements are subject to audit and require adequate working papers to support budget information disclosed.

evaluation methods

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) audit variances between actual and original budget amounts only, not the budget amount. Reporting entities need to understand and explain the underlying basis of the budget amount to provide an appropriate explanation for any variance.

Budgetary reporting, under AASB 1055 (Tier 1 reporting) or AASB 1060 General Purpose Financial Statements - Simplified Disclosures for For-Profit and Not-For-Profit Tier 2 Entities (AASB 1060) (Tier 2 reporting), can be presented in a note to the financial statements or on the primary statements.

Explanations for major variances are to be disclosed, particularly those relevant to performance analysis of a reporting entity and the use of resources entrusted to it.

Reporting entities need to consider the materiality of variances. As a general guide, a variance may be considered material or major if it is:

  • more than +/- 10 per cent of the line item for both departmental and administered, or
  • more than +/- 2 per cent of total expenses or total own-source revenue for departmental only
  • more than +/- 2 per cent of the relevant sub-total for total expenses, revenue, assets or liabilities for administered only.

Reporting entities need to be aware that discussions with auditors may conclude that more or fewer variance explanations are required and entities will need to use judgement. For example, a line item budget might be so small, in the overall context of the financial statements, that explaining a variation above 10 per cent would not be useful in analysing the entity’s performance. Other factors to be considered could include:

  • the sensitivity of particular line items and transaction, and/or
  • large offsetting movements within a line item.
For more information on the:
  • operating loss approval process, contact the relevant Agency Advice Unit (AAU)
  • net cash appropriation arrangements, email BudgetFramework@finance.gov.au.

Current and non-current distinction for assets and liabilities

FRR section 34B – Disclosure of current and non‑current assets and liabilities

This section of the FRR sets out additional requirements for disclosing current and non-current assets and liabilities.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 reporting entities must provide current (amounts to be settled or recovered within 12 months) and non-current (all other) distinction for assets and liabilities under section 34B of the FRR.

Entities should classify and disclose line items in the current and non-current distinction for assets and liabilities note, consistent with the entity’s:

  • statement of financial position
  • administered schedule of assets and liabilities.

Net cash appropriation arrangements 

Under the net cash appropriation arrangements:

  • the NCEs listed in tables C1 and C2 of Appendix C, available under Tools and templates, receive departmental capital budget (DCB) funding in Appropriation Acts (No. 1/3/5), in lieu of an appropriation for depreciation/amortisation
  • the CCEs and NCEs listed in tables C3 and C4 of Appendix C are designated as collection institutions (CIs) which receive a collection development acquisition budget (CDAB) funding as equity injections in Appropriation Acts (No. 2/4/6), to allow them to grow and maintain their heritage and cultural asset collections.
  • entities that are fully cost recovered or primarily funded from external revenue (for example, through the sale of goods or services) do not receive government funding for their assets as they self-fund asset purchases and replacements.

For more information on capital budgeting, see RMG-124 Capital budgeting by Commonwealth entities in the general government sector.

The ‘net cash appropriation arrangements note’ in the financial statements is:

  • used to identify whether operating loss applications are required by the entities that receive DCB and CDAB funding
  • voluntary, however, entities that receive DCB funding should include this note in their entity’s financial statements to provide a clear read with their entity’s Portfolio Budget Statements and Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

Disclosure requirements

In preparing the net cash appropriation arrangements note, entities are required to disclose the following expenses. For:

  • entities with a DCB:
    • the note must show depreciation/amortisation expenses excluding amounts related to assets/functions funded through cost recovery arrangements or external revenue
    • include a footnote explaining the amount of depreciation/amortisation expenses that have been excluded from the note and the assets/functions they relate to
  • entities with a CDAB:
    • the note must show only depreciation expenses related to heritage and cultural asset collections (note that depreciation/amortisation of assets that are not funded through CDAB funding must be excluded)
    • include a footnote to explain which depreciation/amortisation expenses have been included and why
  • entities with lessee transactions (including CCEs):
    • the note must only show depreciation/amortisation expenses related to right-of-use (ROU) leased assets and the lease principal repayment amount, excluding the amounts recovered through cost recovery arrangements
    • if incurring technical losses as a result of AASB 16 Leases transition treatment for lease incentive and straight-lining provisions, a footnote is required that explains the extent to which they contribute to the overall operating loss.

No other expenses must be shown in the note – it may impair user’s understanding of the entity’s operating  surplus or deficit.

See Appendix C (available under Tools and templates): Disclosure of capital budget funding for entity disclosure requirements:

  • Table C1: NCEs with full DCB funding
  • Table C2: NCEs with partial DCB funding
  • Table C3: CCEs that are Collection Institutions and receive a CDAB
  • Table C4: NCEs that receive a CDAB
  • Table C5: NCEs that receive an Administered Capital Budget (ACB).

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