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SEC is reviewing IFRS Taxonomy - When will XBRL be mandated for SEC IFRS filers?

Lou Rohman, Vice President, XBRL Services, Merrill Corporation | October 18, 2016

"When?" is the question. When will the SEC require XBRL-formatted financial statements from companies that prepare their financials in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)? My expectation is sooner rather than later.

IFRS Taxonomy

The SEC has recently called attention to the topic of XBRL for IFRS filers and has specifically stated that it is reviewing the IFRS Taxonomy. SEC speeches and seminar topics during the last few months have pointed toward the SEC’s desire to move this requirement forward and, as I said, sooner rather than later.

The SEC’s 2009 XBRL mandate required IFRS companies to submit XBRL starting in 2011, but the SEC backed off the XBRL requirement in 2011 by issuing a no action letter stating there was no requirement until the SEC approved an XBRL IFRS taxonomy.

The IFRS Taxonomy, as issued by the IASB, is now ready. The items that caused the SEC to hesitate in 2011 have been addressed by the IFRS Foundation, with input from the SEC and all parties in between. As an active member of the IASB’s IFRS Taxonomy Consultative Group, I have been involved with this process, including the enhancement and constant improvement of the IFRS Taxonomy. It is ready to be used for SEC filings.

The date for an SEC announcement and the ensuing effective date for IFRS XBRL filings is still to be determined. But given recent SEC activity, IFRS filers would be smart to pay close attention to future developments from the SEC. I believe an XBRL mandate for SEC IFRS filers will arrive sooner rather than later.

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