What Is EDGAR?

EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval) is the Security and Exchange Commission’s automated, online database where corporate regulatory filings are submitted and displayed. The system collects, validates, indexes, accepts and forwards regulatory submissions, also enabling the public at large to search and view filings freely on the web or via FTP.

The SEC implemented EDGAR in order to improve efficiency and transparency around corporate filings. All publicly traded companies use EDGAR to submit required, time-sensitive documents to the SEC.

Documents that must be filed via EDGAR include annual and quarterly statements, tender offers, information regarding institutional investors’ holdings, Schedule 13D and other key filings, many of which are the most important to investors and analysts. Except in the case of investment companies, actual annual reports to shareholders don’t need to be submitted on EDGAR, although some companies do so voluntarily.

Certain filers must submit various official EDGAR filings in Interactive Data format, using the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).

EDGAR was phased into use over a three-year period ending May 6, 1996. Consequently, filings from that date and earlier may not be included in the system due to a hardship exemption made for hardcopy paper filings.

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