Trend Analysis on Custom Tag Rates in XBRL Exhibits Submitted from 2014 to 2016

The staff in the Commission’s Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA) recently analyzed eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) exhibits submitted by issuers complying with the 2009 Interactive Data rules to file financial statement information in an XBRL format.[1] The analysis covered XBRL exhibits submitted in Forms 10-K and 10-K/A from March 2014 to December 2016 with fiscal year ends ending in 2014, 2015, and 2016.[2] The purpose of the analysis was to monitor filers’ use of custom tags[3] in their XBRL submissions during the last three years.

The Commission’s rules allow filers to create custom tags when the standard taxonomy does not provide a tag for the necessary financial element. While this customization accommodates unique circumstances in a filer’s particular disclosure, the Commission acknowledged that the use of customized tags could potentially and unnecessarily reduce the comparability of inter-company data.[4]  Thus, the Commission’s rules specify the limited circumstances under which a filer may create custom tags. [5]


The trend analysis shows that the average custom tag rates for all filers combined, have been declining from 20% to 19% in the last three years.    The average custom tag rates for the specific filers in the last three years are as follows:    The tag rates for large accelerated filers have been declining from 20% to 18%.   The tag rates for accelerated filers have been declining from 19% to 18%.   The tag rates for non-accelerated filers have been declining from 23% to 22%. The tag rates for smaller report

* DERA staff identified “large accelerated filers,” “accelerated filers,” “non-accelerated filers,” and “smaller reporting companies” based on their self-identifications on their Forms 10-K and 10-K/A. Verification of the accuracy of the self-identification is beyond the scope of this analysis.

The trend analysis shows that the average custom tag rates have been slowly declining in the last three years for all filers.  In addition, the trend analysis reveals that the non-accelerated filers had the highest average custom tag rates while the smaller reporting companies had the lowest average custom tag rates.


DERA staff intends to continue to review filers’ use of XBRL in their submissions to the Commission.  Depending on the results of those efforts, DERA staff may share additional trends, issue guidance, or pursue other actions.
For the staff observations DERA staff published on custom tag rates in 2014, see
DERA staff welcomes your questions and comments. Please feel free to call us at (202) 551-5494 or email us at

[1] Release No. 33-9002 (Jan. 30, 2009), 74 FR 6776 (Feb. 10, 2009) (“2009 Rule”).

[2] Our analysis includes custom tags of line item tags and excludes tags that are abstract, text-related, member, domain, and document and entity.

[3] 17 CFR 232.405(c)(iii).

[4] See n. 1. at 104-05.

[5] See 17 CFR 232.405(c)(iii)(B) (“An electronic filer must create and use a new special element if and only if an appropriate tag does not exist in the standard list of tags for reasons other than or in addition to an inappropriate standard label.”).