Companies house releases technical specification for electronic filing service

The United Kingdom is one of the countries that has chosen an interactive data (XBRL/iXBRL) platform for collection of company data. Companies House, which is the corporate regulator in the UK, was planning for mandatory XBRL collection of Annual Reports from companies. Somewhere down the line the mandate did not happen as scheduled. However, HMRC, the tax regulator, went ahead and mandated an iXBRL platform for collecting financial statements and tax computations that are part of corporate tax returns.

HMRC and Companies House have a common understanding to avoid duplication in the preparation of financial statements in XBRL/iXBRL by members they have in common. As a result, each of them accepts XBRL files prepared for the other with very few changes required to the header information.

In October 2015, Companies House released a technical specification for software developers that facilitate electronic filing services, and an update was issued on 2nd February 2016. This document focuses on electronic filing of company data using XML/iXBRL standards. The specification aims at providing a more efficient, safer and faster method of filing company data for both presenter and Companies House. The regulator has created an XML gateway that facilitates this exchange of structured information. The gateway accepts various statutory information in structured formats. For example, Memoranda or Articles will be submitted in ‘base 64 encoded string’, and Accounts are formatted in either XBRL or iXBRL in the form of an XML file.

There is significant interest from Companies House in encouraging companies and software vendors to use iXBRL standards. This move is a definite indicator that Companies House does not want to be left behind when its peer regulator, HMRC, has gone miles ahead in mandating iXBRL.

The technical interface specification (TIS) can be obtained from Companies House by writing to xml@companieshouse.gov.uk

About DataTracks: DTracks Limited is a subsidiary of DataTracks Services Limited. With more than 10 years track record, DataTracks is a global leader in preparation of financial statements in XBRL and iXBRL formats for filing with regulators. DataTracks prepares more than 12,000 XBRL statements annually for filing with regulators such as SEC in the United States, HMRC in the United Kingdom, Revenue in Ireland, ACRA in Singapore and MCA in India.

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