GAAP Requires Nonprofits to Report In-Kind Donations on Financial Statements

Date February 15, 2022
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The GAAP requirement for the reporting of gifts in-kind has been in existence for a number of years. In June 2018, the Board issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2018-08, Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958): Clarifying the Scope and the Accounting Guidance for Contributions Received and Contributions Made. This Standard focused predominately on the revenue recognition of donations in-kind and with a heightened focus on donated services rather than all nonfinancial assets. The presentation and disclosure of contributed nonfinancial assets differed greatly among nonprofit entities.

To help supplement its cash resources, many nonprofit entities rely heavily on donors for contributions, which can be classified as either financial or in-kind, i.e., nonfinancial assets. Financial contributions are commonly received in the form of grants, pledges, or donations and are received by the organization through a transfer of monetary funds from the donor. In-kind contributions are nonfinancial assets, including goods or services received at no cost or below market cost. Nonfinancial assets include tangible items such as food, clothing, medical or other supplies, furniture and intangible items such as services, voluntary labor, or facilities.

Some of the most frequently overlooked gifts in kind include contributions of advertising time, technical services, use of facilities, costs associated with fundraising events, collection items, car donations, and borrowings at below market interest rates.

In-kind services are only recorded on the organization’s financial statements if they meet specified criteria as determined by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which requires services contributed in-kind must be performed by professionals and tradesmen with a specialized skill in the service. In-kind contributors are typically accountants, architects, carpenters, doctors, electricians, awyers, nurses, plumbers, teachers, and other professionals and tradesmen. When analyzing these types of services, the organization needs to focus on the notion of “specialized skills” GAAP also requires that contributed services create or enhance a nonfinancial asset belonging to the organization and that it would otherwise have to purchase the service. For example, an electrician donating his services during a construction project at a cost below market or for no cost. Under GAAP, the service would qualify as an in-kind contribution as the electrician has a specialized skill that the nonprofit would otherwise have to purchase. The organization would record the receipt of these services in the “statement of activities” with an offsetting expense or capital assets addition, as explained below.

There is a common misconception among nonprofits that because in-kind donations are provided at little or no cost, the organization doesn’t have to report them on its financial statements. Stakeholders and other readers of the financial statements might dispute that recording these items will merely gross-up revenue and expenses with no effect on the operating results. But conversely, not recording these items can distort an NFP’s financial statements, understating the organization’s revenue and expenses, and does not allow for true comparison between similar organizations. As such, nonprofits are required to report these contributions.

GAAP requires the organization to report the donated items or services meeting the criteria for in-kind donations as revenue in the operating section of the organization’s “statement of activities” on the date the contribution is made known to the organization, regardless of the date on which the item or service is received. As explained in FASB ASC 958-605, the donated nonfinancial assets must be reported at fair market value, defined by ASC topic 820 as “the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.” As well, GAAP requires an offsetting expense in the proper natural expense category on the organization’s “statement of functional expenses,” also reported at the determined fair market value as described in ASC topic 820. Suppose the item or service is an asset that exceeds the organization’s capitalization policy, like the electrician cited above. In that case, the asset is recorded in the proper fixed asset category on the “statement of financial position,” and revenue is recognized for the asset’s fair market value. Determining the fair value to be recorded is often the most challenging part of the accounting exercise.

FASB Accounting Update

Based on stakeholder feedback, the FASB issued this update to increase transparency through enhanced financial statement presentation and disclosure of nonfinancial assets. However, the revenue recognition and measurement requirements for these nonfinancial assets remain unchanged in ASC 958-605.

FASB Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2020-07, Presentation and Disclosures by Not-for-Profit Entities for Contributed Nonfinancial Assets, are effective for nonprofits with annual periods beginning after June 15, 2021, and interim periods within annual periods beginning after June 15, 2022. Early adoption of the standard is permitted by nonprofits. Retrospective transition is required. So any periods reported upon must comply with the updated standard. The enhanced presentation and disclosure requirements are:

  • The contributed nonfinancial assets are stated separately from other contributions in the statement of activities.
  • A footnote disclosure must be made to disaggregate the contributed nonfinancial assets by type such as food, medical supplies, fixed assets, facility usage, services, to name a few.
  • The NFP’s policy (if any) on liquidating rather than using contributed nonfinancial assets for each type of nonfinancial asset identified.
  • Qualitative considerations to be disclosed include:

    -Whether the contributed nonfinancial assets were liquidated.

    -A description of any restrictions requested at the time of contribution by the donors.

    -A description of the technique the organization uses to arrive at the fair value measurement of the nonfinancial asset in accordance with paragraph 820-10-50- 2(bbb)(1), at the time the asset is initially recorded.

    -The principal market used to arrive at the fair value measurement (The principal market is the market with the greatest volume of activity that the organization is legally able to access in order to value the asset.)

Under the new standard, when an organization receives donated services it must disclose the services received during the financial statement period, including the revenue recorded on the statement of activities and the programs or activities the services were used for. The organization is required under the new standard to provide disclosure regarding services received in-kind regardless of whether they meet the revenue recognition criteria defined by GAAP; however, the organization is only required to record revenue on the statement of activities if it meets the GAAP criteria. The standard allows for the nature and extent of such services disclosed but not recorded to be described in the footnotes by nonmonetary information, which can include but is not limited to the number of hours received in services or outputs provided by board members or volunteers, such as contributions raised. Many organizations may have donated services that are recorded as contributions and others that are only disclosed in the footnotes.

As the effective date of FASB Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2020-07, Presentation and Disclosures by Not-for-Profit Entities for Contributed Nonfinancial Assets draws near, it will be important for nonprofit organizations to closely monitor the receipt of nonfinancial assets and services received as well as their methods of valuing such contributions. HBK Nonprofit Solutions team members will be happy to assist you with these accounting challenges.

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