Taxation and Accounts Depts to Go Paperless

by Sonal Desai    Mar 19, 2009

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has decided to introduce Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) across the taxation and accounting organizations across India.

XBRL has been developed over several years as an electronic replacement for paper-based report filing. XML-based information can be easily queried and analysed. Data is held in its smallest, most atomic form, meaning it can be mined and compared more easily.

Sharing more information on the project, Jitesh Khosla, joint secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, who was in Mumbai to attend an event told CXOtoday that the departments would go paperless very soon.

The ministry has asked the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) to chalk out the details, and work on the taxonomy. "They have been working on it for the last one year," said Khosla, when asked when the mandate would be implemented.

He said that ICFAI is yet to submit the report, and details on the project can be worked out only later. "We will share those (the details) with you as and when the project progresses," he added.

US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had announced a phased introduction of XBRL as mandatory system for filing corporate accounts in 2007.

After mid-December, public companies with a turnover above $5bn would use XBRL to file their reports, SEC said. Smaller companies were expected to be set compliance deadlines in subsequent phases. A similar compliance announcement was expected in the UK and other countries.

Meanwhile, XBRL has been enthusiastically embraced by various regulators around the world, including Japan, Europe and South Africa.