Guidance from the SEC on Custom Axis Tags

By Evan Condran. The SEC Division of Economic and Risk Analysis recently examined the use of custom axis tags in XBRL exhibits that reporting companies submitted with their 10-K disclosures. An axis tag in XBRL allows a filer to divide reported elements into different dimensions while also showing the relationships between separately reported elements. The SEC’s assessment found that while more than 300 standard axis tags exist in the U.S. GAAP taxonomy, the average annual XBRL exhibit only uses about 20.

The SEC details a few key observations in their recent report which you can access here.  The first conclusion found that unlike previous observations, staff observed a higher average use of custom axis tags as filer size increased, and found the rate of custom axis tags to be the highest for large accelerated filers.

SEC Custom Axis Tags

In the random sample of filings that were assessed, the SEC also found that filers were unnecessarily creating custom axis tags instead of using the appropriate standard axis tag that already exists in the U.S. GAAP taxonomy.

The SEC encourages companies to carefully evaluate their process for using custom axis tags, as the need to do so should be infrequent. The SEC also suggests that filers take the time to re-evaluate their axis tags with each annual release of the U.S. GAAP Taxonomy. To read more details of the report, please visit SEC website.

Evan Condran VP Compliance Services Banner