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UK companies are currently required to file their accounts with HMRC in XBRL format and a number of companies also voluntarily file their XBRL accounts with Companies House.

Inline XBRL is a technology that electronically tags financial information in accounts in a standardised way, using a tagging convention, or taxonomy, so that the data become comparable and users of the statements can more easily pull out the information needed and analyse it more efficiently.

Companies House allows the filing of accounts produced in XBRL format under current UK GAAP, which can be done directly via accounting software packages enabled for the purpose or by uploading them to Companies House via a third party web-based service or locally installed software package. The filing of XBRL accounts is possible for audited and unaudited full accounts and abbreviated accounts. The filing of accounts via software requires the creation of an online filing presenter account with Companies House.

With the introduction of the new financial reporting standards for the UK, FRS 100, 101, 102 and the draft FRS 103, the XBRL tagging taxonomies will need to be updated to conform to the new standards. Following a transfer of responsibility, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has taken over the task of carrying out the update by setting up a governance committee that is overseeing the project.

The FRC’s aim is that the updating will be available from 1 January 2015 to coincide with the mandatory application date of the new financial reporting standards. Unfortunately that seems to imply that entities applying the new standards before such date, on a voluntary basis, as allowed by the new standards, will not be able to file them in XBRL format with HMRC, as required, and with Companies House.

If that is confirmed to be the case, companies may consider delaying the voluntary application of the new standards for their individual accounts until they are able to file them in XBRL format, to fulfil their corporation tax obligations.

The new UK GAAP framework, including the FRSSE 2015, will become mandatory for reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2015 and all extant financial reporting standards and Urgent Issues Task Force (UITF) abstracts will be superseded from that date.

Article contributed by ACCA