The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a proposal that would allow filers to submit financial data in eXtensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL.

Under the regulator's proposal, companies would be allowed to include an attachment in XBRL, a five-year-old Internet framework that establishes individual "tags" for elements in structured documents which eases accessibility and aggregation.

As a result of using XBRL, comparisons of periodic results between companies or industries can be made without poring over separate filings. The language also makes is easier to download any documents.

Currently, SEC issuers submit both quarterly and annual reports to the regulator in a standard format.

The SEC proposal is open for public comment for a 30-day period following its publication in the Federal Register. The agency will accept letters through its Web site, www.sec.gov.

Despite some progress in the U.S. the XBRL movement has gained far greater traction overseas than on domestic fronts. To date, some 40 regulators in nine countries have adopted XBRL for reporting purposes. Presently, 14 countries have what is known as "jurisdictional involvement" with XBRL, including the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Japan.

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