The European Single Electronic Format is the electronic reporting format in which issuers on EU regulated markets shall prepare their annual financial reports from 1 January 2020.

ESEF requires

All AFRs shall be prepared in XHMTL, which is human readable and can be opened with any standard web browsers.

Where AFRs contains IFRS consolidated financial statements, these shall be labelled the XBRL ‘tags’, which make the labelled disclosures structured and machine-readable.

The XBRL ‘tags’ shall be embedded in the XHTML document using the Inline XBRL technology, which allows the benefits of XBRL tagged data to be combined with the human readable presentation of AFRs.

A taxonomy provides the hierarchical structure used to classify financial information and is essential for structured electronic reporting using XBRL. The taxonomy to be used for ESEF is an extension of the IFRS taxonomy. The schema of the core taxonomy is included in Annex to the RTS. Furthermore, XBRL technical taxonomy files compliant with all relevant technical and legal requirements are published on   ESMA’s website to provide guidance to issuers’ in creating their own entity-specific taxonomy.

Preparers shall mark-up disclosures using the taxonomy element having the closest accounting meaning to the marked up disclosure; if the closest taxonomy element misrepresents the accounting meaning of the disclosure, issuers shall create a so-called extension taxonomy element and anchor such extension to the core taxonomy element that has the closest accounting meaning.

Primary financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows and statement of changes in equity) shall be marked up in detail; the Notes instead will need to be marked up by applying mark-ups for whole sections of the notes (block tagging). 

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