Issued: April 26, 2013
Impact: All US GAAP

This guidance is archived.


The taxonomy contains elements for defined contributions plans.  However, there is no specific axis for companies to break down multiple defined contribution plans. As an alternative, companies break their plans down using existing axes in the taxonomy that are not appropriate.  Specifically, some companies use the axis DefinedBenefitPlansDisclosuresDefinedBenefitPlansAxis, AwardTypeAxis, or  DeferredCompensationArrangementWithIndividualPostretirementBenefitsByTypeOfDeferredCompensationAxis.

Each of these axes are intended for different types of benefit plans and the definitions of these axes restrict their use to specific plans.  The defined benefit axis should only be used for defined benefit plans; the award type axis should only be used for equity based compensation; and the deferred compensation for individual axis should only be used for reporting deferred compensation plans with individuals.  In fact, this axis prohibits anything that encompasses equity-based payments, pension or deferred bonus, or profit sharing plan. This access only permits Life Insurance and Health coverage plans.


If a company reports one defined contribution plan, they should use the default elements in the taxonomy. If the details of multiple plans are reported in the company’s filing, the company should create an extension axis to capture this information. Create an axis called DefinedContributionPlanAxis. The FASB will add an equivalent element in a future release of the taxonomy to match this concept.  The axis should support members that represent defined contribution savings and pension plans.