Inline XBRL (iXBRL): What it is, and what you need to know
November 28, 2023
What is iXBRL?
iXBRL, or inline XBRL, is a filing format that merges the aesthetic benefits of a human-readable HTML file with the machine-readable XBRL instance document file. This structured data language allows filers to prepare a single document that is both human-readable and machine-readable, so that filers only need to prepare one filing rather than generate an HTML document of their financial statement information and then tag a copy of the data to create a separate XBRL submission.
iXBRL provides an easier way to view, access, and explore the underlying data within a larger financial statement. Users can click on individual tagged data points to find more information about the data, such as citations and hyperlinks to the relevant accounting guidance or reporting period information associated with each value.1
How Does it Work?
XBRL tags are embedded “in line” with the text of the traditional financial statement, making the financial statement easier to view, but also full of machine-readable and easy-to-access data embedded underneath the text.
What are the benefits of iXBRL?
- Easier access to data: It provides an easier way to view, access, and explore the contextual information of the underlying data. For instance, users can click on individual tagged data points in the filing to find more information about the data, such as citations and hyperlinks to the relevant accounting guidance, narrative definitions for the values, and reporting period information associated with each value.
- Greater transparency: Viewing iXBRL filings does not require any specialized software. Anyone using a recent standard internet browser can view an iXBRL filing on EDGAR.
What kind of information is filed in iXBRL?
- Operating Companies: Domestic filers must file cover page and financial statement information (including footnotes, schedules, and, in annual reports, auditor information) in Form 10-Q, Form 10-K, and certain non-IPO registration statements in Inline XBRL. The cover page and certain revised financial statements in a Form 8-K, and certain information in proxy and information statements, must also be filed in Inline XBRL.2
- Funds: Open-end funds must tag the risk/return summaries in their Form N-1A prospectus filings in Inline XBRL. Registered closed-end funds and business development companies (BDCs) must tag a broader set of specified Form N-2 prospectus items (whether included in Form N-2 registration statements or included in other filings and incorporated into Form N-2 by reference) in Inline XBRL, along with the Form N-2 cover page. In addition, BDCs must tag the financial statements and other disclosures in their Exchange Act reports to the same extent as required for operating companies. Variable contract registrants must tag specified prospectus items on Forms N-3, N-4, and N-6 in Inline XBRL.3
What else do I need to know?
In early 2023, the SEC introduced an updated 2023 taxonomy (a set of data files that determines the ultimate structure required of filed documents) for mutual fund risk/return (“RR”) iXBRL filings. The taxonomy is largely similar to current and previous RR taxonomies, but it does introduce a few new elements that our clients will want to be aware of when reviewing drafts and filings. To learn more about the 2023 taxonomy, and what you need to know about complying with the current taxonomy requirements, check out our full article on the subject, [insert title and URL].