TT161: iXBRL – An Update

As we have reported in earlier Topical Tips (TT 151 & TT 158), HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) have mandated a change in the way that financial statements, tax returns and tax computations are filed.

Basically, filing submissions from 1 April 2011 will be expected to be iXBRL compliant. In short, an absolute nightmare!

There has been so much concern from all involved (software providers, practitioners, and of course the directors of SMEs) that a joint letter was written by the major Accounting Bodies and Institutes to HMRC urging for a delay in the mandatory implementation of iXBRL filing.

HMRC has declined this request.

Therefore come 1 April 2011, please all be prepared for iXBRL!

HMRC has since issued various notes, FAQs and guidance on their so called “soft landing” policy. We understand that as long as a reasonable attempt has been made to file the documents using iXBRL then no penalties will be assessed. It is unclear as to the definition of a “reasonable attempt”.

Planning points

The process of tagging is a difficult and time consuming exercise, even with the best available automated software. If it is necessary to manually tag the complete set of accounts, as will often be the case if word or excel are used, then there is scope for significant errors to arise.

If you prepare your company’s financial statements in-house, then you will have been liaising with your software provider to ensure iXBRL compliance from 1 April 2011. Please ensure that you train your team accordingly as a lot of software still fall short of full automation of the tagging process. This means that you will have to manually input or tag certain required information, and believe us, this is challenging!

Consider filing early – remember that if you file your tax return, computations and financial statements before 31 March 2011, you can still file in the “traditional” format. Therefore if you wish to file early and avoid the iXBRL process for another year, then plan accordingly. Do please note though that this may mean that HMRC would become aware of your company’s tax liabilities earlier than usual.

Speak to your Barnes Roffe contact partner. At Barnes Roffe LLP we have been working tirelessly with our software providers and investing heavily in internal team training to ensure that we are able to deal with HMRC’s iXBRL requirements. We are therefore able to offer our clients a cost effective solution to this compliance burden.

Talk to Barnes Roffe today
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