• Revathy Ramanan, XBRL International Inc.
  • Paul Warren, XBRL International Inc.


  • Paul Hulst, De Nederlandsche Bank
  • Eric Jarry, formerly Banque de France
  • Karla Mckenna, Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a 20-character, alpha-numeric code based on the ISO 17442 standard. It provides a globally unique identifier for legal entities, such as companies. The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) administers LEI identifiers. The Global Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) Index provides a daily update on all name and address data for companies with Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs).

LEIs enable uniform and unique identification of legal entities, and provide particular value when used in conjunction with structured, electronic reporting formats such as XBRL. In collaboration with the GLEIF, XBRL International has released the LEI Taxonomy to facilitate the consistent use of LEIs in XBRL reports.

The primary audience for this guidance are taxonomy architects, taxonomy authors and collectors intending to use LEIs in an XBRL reporting framework.

2 Why use the LEI Taxonomy

The LEI taxonomy provides a consistent and tested approach for incorporating LEIs in XBRL reports. The prebuilt validations ensure LEI values adhere to the prescribed format. Adopting a consistent approach to the inclusion of LEIs increases the value of the data to consumers.

3 How LEIs can be reported in XBRL reports using the LEI Taxonomy

This section explains how XBRL reports can use the LEI Taxonomy to incorporate the LEI as a primary, secondary or related entity identifier.

3.1 LEI as a primary identifier

Facts in XBRL reports specify an entity to which they relate, which is referred to as the Primary Identifier. This is done using the XBRL "entity" < >, which combines an identifier for the entity with a URI identifying a scheme from which that identifier is taken.

Where an LEI is used as the Primary Identifier, the recommended scheme value is http://standards.iso.org/iso/17442 and the identifier value would be the LEI. XBRL best practice recommends using the "entity" built-in dimension to identify the "preparer of the XBRL report". XBRL does not constrain the content of the entity built-in dimension to be a taxonomy concept, therefore, to use the LEI as a Primary Identifier, no modelling is required to be done in the taxonomy.

3.2 LEI as a Fact (secondary identifier)

There can be scenarios in which an XBRL reporting framework mandates the preparer to use a local identifier, such as a national company number, as the primary identifier, but allows the preparer to disclose their LEI where available. In such cases the LEI can be included as a secondary identifier in XBRL reports. This can be done using a standardised concept defined in the LEI Taxonomy.

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