According to the Bureau of Census a special district includes “local entities (other than counties, municipalities, townships, or school districts) authorized by state law to provide only one or a limited number of designated functions, and with sufficient administrative and fiscal autonomy to qualify as separate governments.” As can be seen from this definition a special district is a type of special purpose government.
A primary government is broader in scope than a special district. According to GASB a primary government can be a state government, a general purpose government, or a special purpose government. To qualify as a primary government, GASB indicates a special purpose government needs to have a separately elected governing body, and be legally separate and fiscally independent of state or local governments. This definition is similar to the definition provided by the Bureau of Census for a special district. Therefore, a special district could be considered a type of primary government.
The letter of transmittal generally cites legal and policy requirements for the report. It can also provide information on factors relating to government services and operations. Since the transmittal letter is generally not a part of the audit, it can include somewhat subjective information. On the other hand, the MD&A is considered required supplementary information (RSI) subject to review by the auditor. As such, the MD&A can only contain material set out by the GASB standards. Some of the information required to be included in the MD&A is an overview of financial activity for the year, explanation of the contents of the CAFR, and a description of the financial condition and financial trends of the government.
According to the GASB a financial reporting entity is a primary government, organizations for which the primary government is financially accountable, and other organizations for which the nature of their relationship...
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