Federal Issues

XBRL 

The AICPA supports the use of Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), or data tagging, for reporting of financial and other data. The Institute believes that users of financial and other business information benefit from data tagging because interactive data allows for easier access to more transparent information.

Both the private and public sectors are working toward implementing XBRL for financial information. The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted final rules in February 2009 requiring public companies to submit financial statements filed in XBRL format including annual and quarterly reports, registration statements and transition reports. Using a phased-in approach based upon market capitalization, as of 2011, all SEC filers that use U.S. generally accepting accounting principles (U.S. GAAP) and foreign issuers that use International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are required to submit their reports to the SEC using XBRL.  The FDIC also requires bank call reports to be filed using XBRL.

Legislative Proposals

113th Congress

Digital Accountability and Transparency Act Enacted

The “Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013” or “DATA Act” was signed by President Obama on May 9, 2014 after passing the House and Senate in April.  It was introduced in both the House and Senate in May 2013 by Representatives Darrel Issa, a California Republican, and Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, respectively the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Senators Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, and Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican.

The DATA Act will require nonproprietary data standards to be used for the reporting of financial data and other information by federal government agencies. It requires the Secretary of the Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget “to establish Government-wide financial data standards for Federal funds.” The legislative language is written to specify that the data standard selected must “incorporate a widely-accepted nonproprietary, searchable, platform-independent computer-readable format,” and is “capable of being continually upgraded as necessary.” XBRL meets these and all of the other criteria of the bill.

In early November 2013, S.994 was considered and unanimously passed out of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. H.R. 2061 overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 388-1 in mid-November. The Senate and House sponsors worked with the Administration and other stakeholders to reconcile differences in the bill, and the Senate passed the new version of the bill on April 10, 2014.  The House then voted on the Senate bill on April 28, 2014.

The AICPA and state CPA societies worked directly with the bill’s sponsors to encourage appropriate language for the data transparency sections of the bills, and wrote letters in support of these sections; see below. 

Standard DATA Act

The “Standard Data and Technology Advancement Act” or “Standard DATA Act,” H.R. 948, was introduced by Representative Tom Reed, a New York Republican, on March 5, 2013 with 9 bipartisan cosponsors. This bill would require that the Office of Management and Budget establish an interagency work group to designate nonproprietary data standards, such as XBRL, for any information reported under a number of health and human services programs (amends Social Security Act titles III, IV, IX, XII, XVI, subtitle A of title XX, and section 511). The AICPA supports these data transparency provisions of this bill.

Previous Congresses

Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act Enacted with XBRL Provision

The “Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act” was enacted on September 30, 2011. Sponsored by Congressmen Geoff Davis, a Kentucky Republican, and Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, and Senators Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, the primary purpose of the legislation is to extend child and family services programs.  It calls for data standardization, and specifically requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Management and Budget to work to establish non-proprietary data standards, such as XBRL, for reporting of information for improved data matching. This marked the first time provisions to require nonproprietary data standards, such as XBRL, were enacted in legislation.

Additional Legislation Incorporating Data Transparency Provisions

There have been numerous legislative proposals in the 111th and 112th Congresses that included provisions requiring federal agencies to use a non-proprietary data-reporting language such as XBRL. This trend indicates that there is growing support for making financial information more transparent. None of these initiatives passed both the House and Senate by the time Congress adjourned its second year session, so new bills would need to be introduced in order to initiate any new Congressional action.

Digital Accountability and Transparency Act

There were numerous legislative proposals in the 111th and 112th Congresses that included provisions requiring federal agencies to use a non-proprietary data-reporting language such as XBRL. The trend indicated growing support for making financial information more transparent. None of these initiatives passed both the House and Senate by the time Congress adjourned its second year session, so new bills had need to be introduced in order to initiate new Congressional action.

Standard DATA Act

The “Standard DATA Act,” H.R. 3339, was also put forth in the 112th Congress by Representative Geoff Davis, a Kentucky Republican, and Representative Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat. Davis has since retired from the House, and Doggett remains an original cosponsor of the bill in the 113th Congress.

Other Legislation

Also in the 112th Congress, Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, and Congressman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, each introduced bills entitled the “Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services (JOBS) Act of 2011” (S. 904 and H.R. 1745). Each of these bills included a provision requiring the Department of Labor to work with the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the states to designate data-reporting standards to govern the reporting required under Titles III and IX of the Social Security Act. The bills stated, “In designating reporting standards under this subsection, the Secretary of Labor shall, to the extent practicable, incorporate existing nonproprietary standards, such as the eXtensible Business Reporting Language.” 

In the 111th Congress there were numerous proposals calling for XBRL reporting. Among them were H.R. 2392, the “Government Information Transparency Act,” which passed in the House in 2009, and H.R. 6038, the “Financial Industry Transparency Act,” introduced by Congressman Issa. The provisions of H.R, 6038 were offered originally as amendments to H.R. 4173, which eventually became the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, but were later dropped. A third bill, S. 303, the “Federal Financial Assistant Management Improvement Act of 2009,” was introduced by Senator George Voinovich, an Ohio Democrat. That bill passed in both chambers but in differing versions that were never reconciled.

Resources

Copy of Legislation


Copies of bills are available on the Library of Congress’s THOMAS website.

AICPA Letters and Issue Papers
December 2, 2014 Letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding it hearing, "Transforming Federal Spending: Implementing the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act"

November 18, 2013 Letter to House of Representatives re H.R. 2061

November 4, 2013 Letter to Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee re S. 994

May 22, 2013 Letter in Support of S. 994, the “Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013”

May 21, 2013 Letter in Support of H.R. 2061, the “Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013”

March 12, 2013 Letter in Support of Federal Government Data Transparency

December 18, 2012 Letter in Support of the Data Standards Provisions of S. 3600, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act"

September 20, 2011 AICPA Letter in Support of H.R. 2883, the "Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act"

September 20, 2011 AICPA Letter in Support of S. 1542, the "Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act"

AICPA Issue Paper Supporting H.R. 2146 and S. 1222: the "Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2011"

June 20, 2011 AICPA Letter in Support of H.R. 2146, the "Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2011"

September 17, 2010 AICPA Letter in Support of H.R. 6038, the "Financial Industry Transparency Act" 

April 9, 2009 AICPA Comment Letter to the SEC on the Proposed Roadmap to U.S. Adoption of IFRS 

AICPA Press Releases


January 15, 2010, AICPA Webcast to Guide Public Companies on Furnishing XBRL Data to SEC

December 17, 2009, U.S. SEC Releases Final Rule Mandating Companies to Report Financial Statements Using XBRL, Interactive Data Format

October 20, 2008, AICPA Hails New Framework by WICI for Enhanced Business Reporting

Staff Contacts

Diana Huntress Deem
Director, Congressional and Political Affairs
ddeem@aicpa.org
202.434.9276

Other Web Resources

XRBL.US

SEC XBRL Website: XBRL.SEC.GOV

SEC Final XBRL Rule, February 3, 2009

XRBL International

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Preserving the Cash Basis Method of Accounting for CPA Firms

Overview The AICPA is opposed to certain provisions included in tax reform proposals that would limit the availability of the cash basis method of accounting.
Published on July 22, 2016

Department of Labor Overtime Rule

Article On May 18th, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced its final rule related to overtime pay. Under the new rule, the standard salary threshold will double from $455 per week to $913 per week. This amounts to a change in an annual salary from $23,660 to an annual salary
Published on July 05, 2016

Federal Legislative and Regulatory Issues

Federal Law This page highlights the advocacy issues in which the Congressional & Political Affairs Team is advocating on behalf of the profession, and also those issues that the team has recently followed.
Published on May 24, 2016

Letter from Senate Democrats to Department of Labor February 2016

Legislative Letters Letter of support from Senate Democrats, encouraging Secretary Lew to work swiftly in implementing the Department of Labor proposed overtime rule on February 29th, 2016.
Published on May 24, 2016

May 2016, Cash Coalition Letter to the Senate Finance Committee

Legislative Letters Cash Coalition letter to Senate Finance Committee on cash basis method of accounting 5-10-2016
Published on May 11, 2016

April 2016, Letter to Senate Finance Committee from the AICPA

Legislative Letters AICPA letter for the record to the Senate Finance Committee on hearing entitled “Navigating Business Tax Reform.” The letter encourages the committee not restrict the use of the cash basis method of accounting for pass-through entities.
Published on May 10, 2016

PPWO Letter of Support S. 2707 4.18.16

Legislative Letters Coalition letter sent in support of Senate bill S. 2707 blocking the proposed Department of Labor Overtime Rule.
Published on April 27, 2016

PPWO Letter of Support H.R. 4773 4-18-16

Legislative Letters Coalition letter sent in support of the House Bill H.R. 4773 blocking the proposed Department of Labor Overtime Rule.
Published on April 27, 2016

PPWO Letter to the Hill re Overtime Rule 12-7-15

Legislative Letters Coalition letter opposing the Department of Labor Overtime Rule.
Published on April 27, 2016

AICPA Comments on Proposed Revision of the Employer Information Report (EEO-1)

Comment Letter AICPA's comments in response to the proposed revision of the Employer Information Report advanced by the EEOC to collect summary pay data separated by gender, race, and ethnicity.
Published on April 22, 2016

Congressional and Political Affairs Advocacy

Overview The AICPA monitors and advocates on legislative and other matters that affect the accounting profession. Working with state CPA societies and other professional organizations, the AICPA provides information to and educates federal, state and local policymakers regarding key issues.
Published on December 15, 2015

AICPA Comment Letter to DOL Regarding Proposed Overtime Rule

Comment Letter Comments in response to the DOL July 6, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the FLSA exemptions from minimum wage and overtime requirements for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees.
Published on September 24, 2015

ERISA Fiduciary Definition - Appraisers of Employee Stock Ownership Plans

Article The AICPA believes that the U.S. DOL should implement rules that would require appraisers of ESOPs to meet minimum qualification requirements, including holding relevant credentials and training, and comply with applicable professional valuation standards.
Published on August 03, 2015

Innovation Act Support Letter - US House

Legislative Letters Letter sent by Barry Melancon to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of HR 9, the Innovation Act.
Published on July 16, 2015

Audits of FHA-Approved Participants and Related HUD Requirements

Article FHA proposes new rule to strengthen risk management and shift accountability for the underwriting of FHA-insured loans to the mortgage banks. It may no longer require FHA to approve loan correspondents (mortgage brokers) participating in the FHA program and HUD would no longer require FHA to submit audited financial statements or audits
Published on June 03, 2015

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