EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and others who are required by law to file forms with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). The database contains a wealth of information about the Commission and the securities industry which is freely available to the public via the Internet (HTTPS).
In September 2017, SEC Chairman Clayton revealed the database had been hacked and that companies' data may have been used by criminals for insider trading.
Not all SEC filings by public companies are available on EDGAR. Companies were phased in to EDGAR filing over a three-year period, ending 6 May 1996. As of that date, all public domestic companies were required to submit their filings via EDGAR, except for hardcopy paper filings, which were allowed under a hardship exemption. Third-party filings with respect to these companies, such as tender offers and Schedule 13D filings, are also filed via EDGAR.
The vast majority of documents are now filed electronically, with over 3,000 filings per day.
As of 4 November 2002, the SEC required all foreign companies and foreign governments to file their documents via EDGAR. Prior to that time, electronic filing by foreign companies also was voluntary.
Actual annual reports to shareholders (except in the case of mutual fund companies) need not be submitted on EDGAR, although some companies do so voluntarily. However, the annual report on Form 10-K is required to be filed on EDGAR. As of March 31, 2018, there are over 12 million filings filed to SEC EDGAR.