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The Carter Report

The UK government has accepted recommendations by Lord Carter in a Review of HMRC Online Services, which included making the use of XBRL mandatory for the filing of all company tax returns due after March 2010.

XBRL UK welcomed the Carter proposal on XBRL, saying it was a sensible and prudent step which would bring benefits for both companies and government. The full XBRL UK press release is available here.

Key sections of the Carter report said:

All companies should be required to file their company tax returns online, using XBRL, and make payments electronically, for returns due after 31 March 2010.

(Page 5) Review of HMRC Online Services

Both Companies House (an executive agency of the DTI) and HMRC require companies to submit accounts, but the deadlines are different. We endorse the recent joint consultation issued by HMRC and Companies House about aligning those deadlines. We also recommend that they should work towards providing a joint filing facility so that companies and their agents only have to submit the same information once. The data needed by each organisation could then be extracted from the single submission.

This will take some time and to maximise the benefits the accounts and all other documentation will need to be submitted as machine-readable data. HMRC is developing enhancements to its CT Online service, which will enable accounts and computations to be submitted in XBRL rather than PDF. Our view is that HMRC should not require online submission of company tax returns until XBRL has been implemented and has bedded down. We also think that other improvements will be needed before the CT service meets the needs of agents. We therefore recommend that HMRC should defer requirements for online filing by companies to 2010 and that they should aim to provide a joint filing facility before that time.

(Page 27) Review of HMRC Online Services

A separate Regulatory Impact Assessment document said:

"An XBRL facility, which enables tax computations to be submitted in data form rather than as scanned attachments, was provided as an enhancement to the Corporation Tax online service in February 2006. The service will be expanded to include accounts when a suitable taxonomy is in place, probably in summer 2006. Companies will be required to use XBRL from April 2010 and PDF attachments will no longer be accepted."

The full Carter report is available at www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2006/carter-review.pdf.

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