Uk Xbrl filing

John Ralls jralls at
Thu Jan 13 21:02:21 EST 2011

On Jan 13, 2011, at 12:31 AM, Berni Elbourn wrote:

> John Ralls wrote:
>> Don't get your hopes up about Gnucash supporting XBRL anytime soon
>> unless you can round up someone to work up a patch. We have hundreds
>> of enhancement requests and only a few active developers.
> :-) Its ok I am a long term OpenSource type.
> I have asked myself if I can and should work something up. It would be a long learning curve for me. I fear I will probably create more work for the already active and fabulous developers.
> I remain miffed at Sage using Xrbl to close the door on Linux for its APA database.  On first glance it looks like there are some tools to add the xbrl tags to existing reports. Maybe while converting all those Linux boxes I can have closer look and report back. ;-)
> Looking about Xbrl is certainly the flavour of the month for Tax collecting regimes ... it is bound to come up more and more. Australia next?

There are a couple of other alternatives to hacking a report in Gnucash: The Gnucash data API is exposed in both Scheme and Python, so if you (or someone you know or could hire) is proficient in either of those and in creating XML output, you could extract your data for the year and format it that way.

If the data you need to report to HMRC is sufficiently basic that it can be accessed with simple joins from the tables (see for the table definitions) and you know (or can hire someone who knows) SQL, you could save your data with one of the SQL backends and query it that way.

Finally, if you (or... you know that bit by now) are fluent with XSLT or XQuery, the Gnucash default file format is in XML. There's some out-of-date information here and in the sources (

Just remember that you mustn't write to the datafile with anything other than the Gnucash API.

It seems that on the continent XBRL is required only of companies too large to be using Gnucash. Over here in America, government is allergic to international standards and we have an entrenched tax-preparation industry with their own way of doing things, so XBRL isn't likely to show up any time soon.

John Ralls

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