XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Langugage) is a language that allows the presentation of financial information in a computer readable format. This is achieved by tagging each piece of financial information with a label that identifies it in terms of standard accounting or tax concepts.
Standard XBRL is presented as a series of tags and numbers. iXBRL, or inline XBRL is a more recent version of the language which allows financial information to be presented in a format that is both human readable and machine readable.
iXBRL does not change accounting standards. It is a mechanism used for transmitting information to Revenue that accurately reflects data reported under GAAP and IFRS.
The Revenue Commissioners are currently rolling out mandatory filing of iXBRL Financial Statements for Corporation Tax payers in stages. The first group (those dealt with in the Large Cases Division) are required to file iXBRL Financial Statements in respect of all Corporation Tax returns submitted on or after 1 October 2013, in respect of accounting periods ending on or after 31 December 2012.
Phase 2 extends the mandatory iXBRL filing to all corporation tax payers other than those meeting the criteria below:
- The balance sheet value of the company does not exceed €4.4million
- The amount of the turnover of the company does not exceed €8.8 million and
- The average number of persons employed by the company does not exceed 50
This phase will apply to Corporation Tax returns submitted on or after 1 October 2014 in respect of accounting periods ending on or after 31 December 2013. Please note that to be excluded from phase 2 a company must meet all three criteria.
Phase 3 will involve all remaining corporation tax payers. It is intended that this will commence in 2015.
Companies not yet subject to mandatory iXBRL filing may still do so on an optional basis. iXBRL is also available to Income Tax payers since 1 January 2013 but there is no statutory obligation for sole traders to submit financial statements in iXBRL format.
Revenue are aware that the move to iXBRL will be a significant change for some taxpayers. Therefore Revenue will not impose late filing surcharges or other penalties in respect of errors in the creation or filing of iXBRL tagged financial statements for a period of 2 years where a taxpayer has made reasonable efforts to comply with their statutory obligations.