Mandatory XBRL filing for tax in the UK? Absurd!

From the Institute of Charted Accountants (Scotland):

ICAS objects to the additional burdens, costs and risks of this during the current recession – when many businesses are struggling to survive and should be concentrating their management expertise on the much more pressing and important task of maintaining productivity and employment.


Donald Drysdale, Assistant Director at ICAS and a Chartered IT Professional, said:

“In his Review of HMRC Online Services, Lord Carter of Coles recommended the use of XBRL, but emphasised that the new standard should not be imposed until it had been implemented and had bedded down. He also noted that other improvements would be needed before the service would meet the needs of tax agents.

“Many companies won’t be ready for this. It is absurd to require businesses struggling during a recession to introduce this. XBRL has been used relatively sparingly to date, and HMRC plans to adopt Inline XBRL (or iXBRL) would be the first large-scale iXBRL implementation worldwide, so the technology certainly hasn’t been adequately tried, tested and proven to be reliable. It falls far short of Lord Carter’s criteria.”

ICAS has been exploring this topic with HMRC for more than two years. The Institute was instrumental in establishing tripartite discussions among Government, the tax profession and software vendors, but now reports widespread concerns that software solutions for preparing iXBRL-based statutory accounts will not be available in time.

Drysdale added:

“It’s misguided and disproportionate to mandate iXBRL-based online filing by all companies as early as April 2011.
We’ve urged HMRC to reconsider its plans in the light of the relatively immature market position of XBRL, and we’ve asked that Ministers shift to a gradual voluntary adoption of iXBRL filing until the new software for tax and accounts preparation has been properly tried and tested.”

About Derek

My key interests are online investor relations, websites, social media, enterprise 2.0 and intranets, and XBRL. Speak to me if you need a solution in any of these disciplines, or follow my knowledge links on this site and others. Find me on Twitter, LinkedIn or in recent conversations.