XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) was first introduced in 1998. Since then, there have been several versions and upgrades made, leading recently to the now increasingly widely used iXBRL (In-Line eXtensible Business Reporting Language). iXBRL is a file format that can be read by both humans and computers from the same document. This is made possible by selecting individual items of data that are then ‘tagged’ with unique identifiers (for example, the company’s turnover for the year is tagged with that description).
HMRC have introduced legislation (Statutory Instrument 2009/3218) detailing the requirement to submit Corporation Tax Returns electronically. From 1st April 2011 for most companies, tax returns must be filed online using iXBRL.
The effect of this important change is primarily that all companies now need to attach both tax computations and financial statements in iXBRL format to their Corporation Tax Return (which is also tagged using iXBRL). To help ease this changeover process, companies can currently make use of what’s known as the ‘minimum tagging’ list, thereby allowing the submission of ‘incorrectly’ tagged returns and supporting files. From 2013 however, it is likely that they will have to be tagged using the full taxonomy. For further information on how the changes will affect your business please click here
iXBRL annual accounts for most types of incorporated businesses may now be filed to Companies House but there is no legal requirement as of yet requiring them to submit electronically (this is likely to change also from 2013).