Users and vendors grapple with iXBRL

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The great iXBRL deadline passed without too much fuss on 1 April, but posts on AccountingWEB in the past few weeks have highlighted a series of false starts, software glitches and failed CT600 filings - as well as some encouraging successes.

After witnessing a colleague spend four days struggling with iXBRL in Sage Accounts Production, AccountingWEB member DMGbus commented, “There is no such thing as trouble-free software with iXBRL at present - there seems to be a steep learning curve. Where at all possible my view is try to use HMRC's product (hopefully clients fall into the narrow band of being ‘simple enough’).”

From the experiences reported on AccountingWEB, some of those relying on their software providers are finding that the iXBRL experience isn’t quite the “pushbutton” exercise they witnessed at software demos. Here are some recent examples of successful and not so successful iXBRL filing:

Early successes

  • Trying to complete the HMRC online accounts template drove Nigelburge “mad”, but he discovered that attaching a VT iXBRL file was “so simple - and it works!!”
  • “We are submitting using Absolute, have very few problems with it,” reported Gerawson.
  • Richard Breckman submitted the firm’s first CT return and accounts using Forbes without issues.

Glitches appear
IRIS, in particular, has been particularly aggressive in marketing its software as a “safe haven” for Sage users frustrated with iXBRL delays. But the feedback from AccountingWEB’s IRIS tax/practice discussion group indicated that perhaps the company might have been flirting with the “glasshouse” syndrome.

As the following examples demonstrate, it has not all been plain sailing for users of integrated tax and accounts systems:

  • Even before efiling became mandatory, IRIS users Heywood Shepherd and JeremyNewman reported that test filings using IRIS failed.
  • The IRIS 10.5 release that included iXBRL output from the accounts production also caused problems. 
  • CCH user Kathywilson “can only say it is riddled with problems.”
  • TaxCalc user aadil got a warning from their CT software that the dates on the accounts and tax return period were not the same.

Technical issues
Not all the iXBRL problems will be down to software bugs. As more returns and accounts are filed, anomalies and unforeseen circumstances will crop up. Under HMRC’s newly branded Managing the Transition policy, returns should not be rejected for esoteric flaws in accounting treatments, nor will agents be fined if errors are discovered in the tagging itself. However, issues on both sides of the both sides of the efiling fence will need to be resolved during the transition period, including some of the following points raised by AccountingWEB members:

This article is merely an overview of recent developments - so feel free to add your experiences and thoughts below, or join our iXBRL discussion group if you would like to take part in more detailed examinations of the underlying issues.

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About John Stokdyk

John Stokdyk is the global editor of AccountingWEB UK and


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20th Apr 2011 08:16

Comprehensive Accounts, PTP and IXBRL

Comprehensive Accounts attached to PTP filed and accepted for my own practice.

Comprehensive Users have notified us of filing success when attached to TaxCalc, HMRC and Drummohr.

Tony Margaritelli - Chair ICPA (Comprehensive Accounts Partner) 



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21st Apr 2011 12:10

BTCSoftware & iXBRL

Hi John,

iXBRL has certainly made us busier this year but without significant impact on support - which is especially pleasing given that this is also a busy time of year for self-assessment. HMRC reported a  99.5% success rate for March CT filings by our users. Over 75% of these were using iXBRL, and the total number of returns filed was NINE times more than for March 2010.

Andrew Ross BTCSoftware

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21st Apr 2011 12:16

VT and FTax

We use VT and FTax (discount code: FT54JH10) both work perfectly and so simple.




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By kfatax
21st Apr 2011 13:21

VT and Keytime

We use VT and Keytime and have not experienced problems with the 3 cases so far filed.

Discovered Vt this year and its simply brilliant.


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By nickja
21st Apr 2011 16:07

VT and Keytime

VT for accounts, Keytime fo CT both worked out of the box for me.    Both companies deserve heaps of praise for getting it right when most of the big boys can't.

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22nd Apr 2011 09:44


I have used VT and Tax Calc for three years now and have not had one problem with the IXBRL filing.

Well done VT and Taxcalc


Terry Morris

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04th May 2011 13:36

CCH Viztopia and PTP CT Platform

Loads of problems with CCH/Viztopia - numerous cases have had to be referred to support. PTP - no problems.

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By Tosie
23rd May 2011 11:35

Problems now arising

I filed using Tax calc and VT without any problem. Received usual HMRC email receipt. Now client has received rejection letter some  6 weeks after filing saying that the accounts were in PDF format (which ofcourse they were not). Checked with VT and I am not alone in this situation. VT think it is an HMRC problem rather than VT.

Sorry to have to report this but it may well be that other "successful" filings will be rejected.

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23rd May 2011 13:12

HMRC rejections - might be a tax program issue

There is a facility in HMRC's specification for the electronic filing of CT600's for the submission of the accounts in pdf format provided a reason is given. Special elements have to be set in the XML file generated by the CT600 package.

Does anyone know if it is possible in Taxcalc to do the following in combination:

Accidentally tick a box for submitting accounts in pdf formatNot enter a reason for the aboveAttach an iXBRL file

Otherwise, we have to assume HMRC are sending completely spurious rejection letters.

Has anyone had this problem with any other tax package?

See also

Philip Hodgson
VT Software

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23rd May 2011 16:04

So far so good.
Not wanting to tempt fate, but not had any reports of this particular issue - with our own, VT or any other accounts transmitted from our tax package.

David Forbes

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24th May 2011 15:53

Problems filing using Digita - costs

We have had numerous problems with Digita and it generates accounts in an unacceptable format.  This is costing money, has anyone tried to claim from the supplier who has reassured us all the way through the run-up that its software would be ready for iXRL and then does not deliver?  Are accountants passing this cost covertly on to clients or taking it on the chin in partner profits?

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