Netherlands accounting guideline for pensions moves closer to IFRS

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30 Jul 2003

In August 2002, the Netherlands Council for Annual Reporting (CAR) published a discussion memorandum on the treatment of pensions in the annual financial statements.

A special working group of the CAR and the Social Economic Council (Stichting voor de Arbeid) have proposed changes and amendments to this memorandum. The CAR agreed with these changes and has decided to publish the proposed text as a final Guideline. This Guideline is based on the actual IAS 19, Employee Benefits. According to the CAR the final text does both justice to the terms of IAS 19 as well as to the particulars of the pension situation in the Netherlands.

The Guideline intends to give a direction to the consideration of the terms under which pension plans would qualify as a defined-contribution plan or as a defined-benefit plan. The Guideline also contains clear indications on how and when in determining the pension obligation one shall take into account indexing of pensions.The Guideline will become effective for financial statements starting on or after 1 January 2005. Whether this Guideline will also be applicable to small or medium-sized companies is currently under discussion. A number of exemptions for these types of companies is currently under investigation by a working group of the CAR.The actual text of the Guideline is expected to be published in August. Before this date, the final text will not be made public.

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