European Single Electronic Format

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets’ regulator, has published today an update of its European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) Reporting Manual (Manual).

The Manual is aimed at all market participants involved in the implementation of the requirements set out in the ESEF Regulation, and in particular in the first-time preparation of IFRS consolidated financial statements in Inline XBRL.

The Manual was originally published by ESMA in December 2017. It is intended to provide guidance on issues commonly encountered when generating Inline XBRL instance documents in compliance with the ESEF Regulation.  Following feedback from market participants, ESMA decided to publish a revised version of the Manual to expand existing guidance and update the guidance included in the original publication.

ESMA will continue to monitor relevant markets developments and gather feedback on issues frequently encountered. Where relevant and/or necessary ESMA will provide further guidance to the public.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a draft amendment to the regulatory technical standards (RTS) on the European Single Electronic format (ESEF) to update the core taxonomy to be used for ESEF reporting.

This follows publication of the RTS on ESEF in the Official Journal of the EU on 29 May 2019.

The core taxonomy currently included in the RTS on the ESEF is the 2017 IFRS Taxonomy. The draft amendment aims to replace that version with the most recent one published by the IFRS Foundation in March 2019. This update is a purely technical amendment to the original RTS on the ESEF.

The ESEF taxonomy is based on the IFRS Taxonomy, and as the IFRS Standards and taxonomy evolve, the RTS on ESEF needs to evolve accordingly to provide preparers with the most relevant ESEF taxonomy for tagging IFRS consolidated financial statements.  This will promote electronic reporting that is up-to-date with the applicable reporting standards, facilitating implementation of the tagging requirements and ensuring the highest comparability of filings for end-users at European and global level.

Next steps

The RTS on ESEF will be amended on a yearly basis to reflect updates to the IFRS Taxonomy published by the IFRS Foundation.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) publishes today taxonomy files to facilitate implementation of the requirements set out by the draft RTS on ESEF

Preparers can access the taxonomy in the form of a set of electronic XBRL files (‘ESEF XBRL taxonomy files’) that are available in a machine-readable and freely downloadable format.

With this publication, ESMA aims to facilitate the implementation of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) Regulatory Technical Standard (RTS) by providing XBRL taxonomy files that are compliant with all relevant technical and legal requirements in the RTS, and that issuers should use as a starting point to create their own taxonomies. The taxonomy files intend to facilitate the accessibility, analysis and comparability of Annual Financial Reports (AFRs) in the ESEF format.


The ESEF RTS requires that starting from 2020 all listed issuers publishing AFRs under the meaning of the Transparency Directive prepare their AFRs in the xHTML format. Whenever AFRs contain IFRS consolidated financial statements, issuers shall mark them up using XBRL tags chosen from a taxonomy of accounting concepts, and embed them in the underlying xHTML document using the inline XBRL technology. This will combine the XBRL benefits of tagged data with the human-readable presentation of an AFR.  


The ESEF taxonomy is based on the IFRS Taxonomy, prepared and annually updated by the IFRS Foundation, and provides issuers with a hierarchical structure to be used to classify financial information. The taxonomy is made up of a set of electronic files (‘ESEF XBRL taxonomy files’), providing a structured representation of the elements that substantively constitute the core taxonomy. These can be accessed on ESMA’s website in the form of a taxonomy package (in accordance with the XBRL Taxonomy Packages 1.0 specification). The package includes entry points in all EU language. All files within the taxonomy package are also available at their canonical locations, hosted on the ESMA website. The human-readable labels of the core ESEF taxonomy, listing and defining the specific elements that preparers can use to identify (tag) the information disclosed within IFRS consolidated financial statements, are included in Annex VI of the RTS on ESEF.


The publication of the ESEF XBRL Taxonomy files is accompanied by the publication of a set of documentation material presenting their architecture and content.