What is Taxonomy Architecture?

The Taxonomy Architecture describes how SBR designed the structure of the taxonomy using XBRL. Rather than develop the taxonomy from a government agency and forms perspective, the taxonomy is designed from an information classification perspective.

What is the key feature of the taxonomy architecture?

The key feature of the SBR Taxonomy is that it is broken into two components, the SBR AU (Definitional) Taxonomy and SBR AU Reports. Information is defined once in the SBR AU (Definitional) Taxonomy and re-used many times across reports.

SBR AU (Definitional) Taxonomy

The SBR AU (Definitional) Taxonomy is the dictionary where all data elements are classified and defined.

SBR uses the process of harmonisation to agree across agencies on the minimal set of data elements and their definitions for reporting from businesses to SBR agencies. For a full list of reports currently in the SBR AU (Definitional) Taxonomy please visit forms in scope.

What is Harmonisation?

Harmonisation is achieved by:

  • rationalisation - identifying elements that are not required to be reported (obsolete or redundant);
  • standardisation - redefining elements in order to conform to an endorsed standard;
  • normalisation – deciding whether elements that seem similar will be treated as equivalent. This includes the definition of the element, as well as its description.

How do we classify data elements?

The approach to classification of data elements is based on natural business data groups. Classifying enables:

  • grouping of the large diversity of data that contain similar types of information;
  • a better understanding of the meaning and definition of each element; and
  • meeting the SBR goal of defining the data elements once and reusing them in any agency report, which guarantees that data elements can only have a unique meaning.


The high level subject areas used in the SBR AU (Definitional) Taxonomy classification are:

Business Accounting and Financial - includes data elements related to business accounting and the preparation of financial reports submitted to government. It also contains other information submitted by business to support these reports including, corrections, accounting policies, disclosures. Finally, also included are specific financial services information provided in reports relating to prudential supervision, non-resident and overseas transactions and insurance reporting.

Credit and Insurance - includes data elements related to the use of government funds to cover the subsidy cost of a direct loan or loan guarantee or to protect/indemnify members of the public from financial losses.

Economic Management - includes data elements related to the economic management of public funds and other resources, appropriate strategies for raising revenue and regulating expenditure, provision of advice on investment regulations and risk management, monitoring economic indicators and forecasting trends to enable financial planning.

Education and Training - includes data elements related to the provision of skills and knowledge to people and strategies to make education available to the broadest possible cross-section of the community. It also includes data elements related to schools, universities, colleges, academies or community groups that provide education and training, as well as the development and management of educational institutions.

Government Financial Assistance - includes data elements related to the government provision of earned and unearned financial or monetary - like benefits to individuals, groups, or corporations.

Labour Relations - includes data elements related to employment growth, working environments, workplace relations, labour productivity and performance.

Party - includes data elements related to Australian individuals, businesses and other organisations that the Australian Government has to liaise with to fulfil its mission and purpose.

Revenue Collection –includes data elements related to revenue collection and encompasses the collection of government income from all sources.

How do we define data elements?

XBRL allows all different types of information (labels) to be linked to data elements to define and qualify each data element. The different labels that can be linked to each data element are:


Description / Usage



A unique number to identify each data element.



A unique name for each data element.


Business Definition

A business definition to describe the purpose of the data element from a 'Whole of Government' perspective as opposed to an agency centric view.



Additional information that is required to complement the Business Definition label.


Standard Reference

A reference to an industry standard. e.g. Australian Accounting Standards (AASB) and ISO 3166.



The natural accounting balance of the data element (debit/credit).


Period Type

An indication of whether the data element is a stock (instant) or a flow (duration).



The type of data that can be input for this data element. e.g. numerical.


SBR AU Reports

SBR AU Reports is the collection of specific agency XBRL 'reports' that use the data elements required to satisfy the business's reporting obligation to government agencies.

How are the data elements used?

SBR agencies reuse the data elements required from the SBR AU (Definitional) Taxonomy and provide extra information specific to that report. This extra information is the structure of how the data elements fit together and the context required for those elements to make sense in this report. To assist in understanding the data element in each report, agencies can include additional labels that provide information context and structure specific to that report. Additional labels available are:


Description / Usage


Report Label

A plain English free text label that assists in the understanding of the data element within the context of the report.


Report Guidance

Provides specific guidance or instructions for the data element within the context of the report. The report guidance can clarify but not contradict what is provided in Business Definition and Data Element Guidance labels.


Further information


SBR Taxonomy Architecture Documentation

When defining the SBR Taxonomy Architecture a number of decisions were made to ensure the consistency and usability of the SBR Taxonomy. The outcomes of these decisions are included in the following suite of documents:

Please note: the target audience of these documents are technical users familiar with XBRL.

SBR Taxonomy Architecture

This document describes the architecture of the SBR Taxonomy and shows how the library of harmonised data elements (the SBR AU (Definitional) Taxonomy) is packaged and how these data elements are re-used across government reports (in the SBR AU Reports). The document also defines the version control processes and how to navigate the SBR Taxonomy.

SBR Taxonomy Naming Convention

This document details the naming conventions used to name all components of the SBR Taxonomy. It provides rigorous, repeatable and easy to understand naming conventions to ensure consistency.

SBR Taxonomy Development Principles

This document articulates the design principles and guidelines that must be upheld to ensure the integrity of the SBR Taxonomy.

Taxonomy files

This is the collection of XBRL schemas and link-bases, 'XML optimised for financial reporting', that constitute the SBR Taxonomy.

The SBR Taxonomy can be viewed and downloaded using the machine-readable code available from https://www.taxonomy-collaboration.sbr.gov.au/yeti/resources/yeti-gwt/Yeti.jsp

Please read the disclaimer and conditions of use.

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Taxonomy Architecture