The Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking public comment on the costs and benefits associated with “tagged” data, and is  considering a staff proposal to accept voluntary supplemental filings of financial data using the Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL.

The regulator said that the initiative is aimed at determining:


  • The benefits of tagging to reporting quality and efficiency;
  • The implications of tagging data for filers, investors, the commission and other market participants; and,
  • The compatibility of existing tag definitions with current disclosure requirements.

The regulator said that it might propose a rule this fall that would, if adopted, establish the voluntary program beginning with the 2004 calendar year-end reporting season.The commission’s Division of Corporation Finance, the Office of the Chief Accountant, the Division of Investment Management, and the Office of Information Technology will work jointly on the XBRL initiative.
“This initiative is part of the commission’s broader effort to improve the quality of information available to investors and the marketplace,” said SEC Chairman William Donaldson.

Now five years old, XBRL, the financial reporting derivation of the Extensible Mark-up Language, or XML, is a framework that establishes individual “tags” for elements in structured documents, allowing specific elements to be immediately accessed and aggregated, thereby enabling disparate software applications to transmit and share information.

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