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Subject: RE: [tax] Comments on XML Position Paper

At 10:39 am +0100 16/3/04, marc.van.hilvoorde@nl.pwc.com wrote:
>I liked your comments on the differences between accountants and computer
>scientists looking at data differently. But the assessement and certifying
>of information is still an accountants job (I am not sure if they are
>really capable of doing this, but this is another topic). That gives us a
>reason for meddling, I think.

It would seem to come down to the issue of where you draw the line around
what accountants (primarily) are interested in, as opposed to what computer
systems (primarily) are interested in. XBRL is a (good) attempt at providing
accounting data in a form that accountants (and their tools) can get to
grips with. There is obvious benefit in developing Taxonomies that cover
that domain so that, as you say, you get true re-usability (and we mustn't
forget interoperability too). That may be 'taxutopia' for accountants, but
it is only a subset of the information that regulators or tax authorities

There are transactions (such as my example of UK PAYE tax and National
Insurance contributions records) that never go near an accountant (either
within IR or the employers running the PAYE payroll deduction schemes).
These are largely application-to-application data transfers, and whilst
it may be a little optimistic at the moment to say they are serialised
objects passing from one system to another, it is not far short of the
truth. In these cases, the imposition of XBRL is unnecessary, and I would
even go as far as to say it would be a hindrance.

I simply think there is a boundary to XBRL's applicability somewhere,
and there are some existing systems with which I'm familiar that I believe
fall outside that boundary (and some that fall within it). We would do well
to identify the boundary for those administrations who have yet to implement


Andy Greener                         Mob: +44 7836 331933
GID Ltd, Reading, UK                 Tel: +44 118 956 1248
andy@gid.co.uk                       Fax: +44 118 958 9005

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