In our last look at Romania SAF-T, we detailed the technical specifications released from Romania’s tax authority. Since then, additional guidance has been released including an official name for the SAF-T submission: D406.
To alleviate taxpayer concerns due to the complexity of the report and difficulties with extraction, the tax authorities are introducing a voluntary testing period which is due to begin in the coming weeks. During this period, taxpayers may submit what is known as D406T which will contain test data that the authorities will not use in the future for audit purposes.
The Romanian SAF-T, D406, is based on the OECD schema version 2.0 which contains five sections:
The submission deadlines are as follows:
Taxpayers must submit sections of D406 monthly or quarterly, following the applicable tax period for VAT return submission.
For the first report, tax authorities have announced a grace period for the first three months of submission. This is from the date when the deposit obligation becomes effective for that taxpayer, where non-filing or incorrect filing will not result in penalization if correct submissions are submitted once the grace period ends.
The D406 must be submitted electronically in PDF format, with an XML attachment and electronic signature. The size of the two files must not exceed 500 MB. If the file is larger than the maximum limit, the portal will not accept it and the file must be divided into segments according to details set out in the Romanian guidance.
The tax authorities have indicated that, should a taxpayer find errors in the original submission, a corrective statement may be submitted to rectify these errors. The taxpayer should submit a second full corrected file to replace the original file that contains errors. If a taxpayer submits a second D406 for the same period, it is automatically considered a corrective statement.
Welcome to our Q&A two-part blog series on the French e-invoicing and e-reporting mandate, which comes into effect 2023-2025. That sounds far away but businesses must start preparing now if they are to comply.
The Sovos compliance team has returned to answer some of your most pressing questions asked during our webinar.
We have outlined the new mandate, e-invoicing specifically, and questions around this topic in our first blog post.
This blog will look at the other side of the mandate – e-reporting obligations. These will apply to B2C and cross-border B2B transactions in France, which must be periodically reported.
First let’s look at common questions around payments e-reporting.
What are the invoice and payment statuses to be reported?
Here is a slide from our webinar showing invoice statuses, whether these are mandatory, recommended, or free, origins, action to take if rejected, status data, and when it needs to be reported:
Who is responsible for payment e-reporting? The buyer, the seller, or both?
It was initially rumoured to be both on the buyer and the seller side, but the latest information from DGFIP clearly states that it will be the responsibility of the seller to report the invoice status, and, if applicable, its payment status.
Some further clarification is needed though since the seller is dependent on the buyer’s response on some status (e.g. ‘invoice rejected’).
Your e-invoicing and e-reporting project cannot be done in isolation. This is a significant project with many dependencies that involve external third parties.
There will be one or, in most likelihood, several third parties in the middle of the transaction chain. This will include Chorus Pro, chosen by the French government as the official and obligatory platform for businesses to issue e-invoices to public administrations.
This section covers common questions on partner platform certification requirements.
Is there a list of official validated partner platforms?
The 13 July 2021 DGFIP workshop dedicated to this matter highlighted that there would be a registration process for third-party platforms, as well as taxpayers who would want to run their own platform.
The registration process will consist of two phases:
Phase 1. A prior selection by the tax authorities based on the general profile of the candidate (e.g. are they up to date in their own tax payment duties?) and the services they propose;
Phase 2. Within 12 months after registration, an independent audit would have to performed that demonstrates that the platform meets the DGFIP requirements, such as:
<liPerforming the control and mapping activities (extraction of invoicing data for both e-invoicing and e-reporting, certain invoice validation checks – mandatory fields, check sums, Customer ID verification – mapping to and from a minimum set of mandatory formats, compliance with GDPR, etc)
A few other key points to note are:
What is the current expectation on when exact required fields with be supplied by the government (invoice specs with all required fields and values)?
Excel files are available as a draft document at a very detailed level which Sovos can provide on request. The final specs should be known by the end of September 2021.
Still have questions about e-reporting? Access our webinar on-demand for more information and advice on how to comply.
In our recent webinar, Sovos covered the new French e-invoicing and e-reporting mandate, and what this means for businesses and their tax obligations.
We are witnessing a global move towards Continuous Transaction Controls (CTCs), where tax authorities are demanding transactional data in real-time or near real-time, affecting e-invoicing and e-reporting obligations.
As such, from 2023, France will implement a mandatory B2B e-invoicing clearance and e-reporting obligation in an effort to increase tax efficiency, cut costs, and fight fraud.
The pace towards this mandate has been accelerating lately with the adoption of the Finance law for 2021, followed by a number of workshops organised by the Ministry of Finance — namely the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques (DGFIP).
In the first of two blogs on the mandate, we answer some of your most pressing questions asked during our webinar.
In part one, we focus on setting the scene in terms of scope, and cover questions around e-invoicing specifically, invoicing file formats, processes and controls, and archiving.
The second blog covers questions around e-reporting obligations.
In this section, we answer questions on the scope of the regulation, such as which companies must comply with the mandate and how.
Are non-resident companies (foreign companies with only a French VAT-registration) obliged to fulfil this new regulation? Are foreign legal entities with a French VAT number in scope?
The Budget Laws for 2020 and 2021 introduced the CTC scheme from a legal perspective. Both include “persons subject to VAT” in the scope.
VAT registration is a strong indication that a company is subject to VAT, but classification as a VAT “taxable person” also depends on other factors.
Therefore, it is not as simple as just looking at whether a company has a local VAT registration, to decide whether it is subject to VAT and therefore targeted by the mentioned budget laws.
However, the scope cannot be unilaterally decided by France as the French CTC scheme is dependent on a derogation from the EU Council.
As a comparison, Italy initially included all taxable persons in the scope of its e-invoicing clearance mandate, including those with a mere VAT registration but no establishment. But in this case, the EU Council limited the scope (of its derogation) to persons established in Italy.
From an e-invoicing perspective, we can therefore expect that France will need to follow the Italian path (due to its reliance on a derogation from the EU Council), limiting the scope to established persons.
DGFIP has however suggested that companies that are non-established but VAT registered will be in scope of the reporting obligation.
Is import of goods in the scope of e-reporting? What about import of services?
Only imports (supplies from outside of the EU) of services are in the scope of the current proposal.
In this section, we discuss permitted e-invoice formats.
The fact that the new regime creates a specific process for domestic B2B e-invoicing does not change the need for businesses to demonstrate the integrity and authenticity of each invoice.
This can be done through one of the 3 legal methods defined by the existing regulations:
To ensure there’s no impact of the reform on integrity and authenticity demonstration methods, one can still apply any of them.
However, with the new regime, e-invoicing data sent to the DGFIP does need to be in a structured format.
Will digital signatures be required?
Digital signatures are not strictly required today and will not be strictly required in the new scheme. Integrity and authenticity will still need to be ensured though, irrespective of invoice format, as is the case today.
The options remain the same; use of digital signatures, use of EDI with security measures, or the BCAT option whereby the audit trail should prove the transaction and its authenticity and integrity.
Are PDF and XML invoice file formats still possible to receive from 2023-2025?
The legal invoice format can be anything, as long as the supplier and buyer agree on it and the integrity and authenticity are guaranteed. Also, a human readable version (normally a PDF) is required upon audit as part of the general EU requirements.
What e-invoicing formats are permitted?
This is not fully defined yet, but DGFIP has indicated the following syntax, based on the EN16931 standard:
Those formats would apply to:
In this section, we answer questions around the processes for sending and receiving e-invoices, what information they need to include, and the Chorus Pro platform.
Will the e-invoice need to be sent real-time?
Yes, it can be considered a “real-time clearance system”. As part of the e-invoicing obligation, the reporting of mandatory data to the tax authorities and the issuance of the original invoice to the buyer by the supplier’s partner platform should happen right after receiving the invoicing data from the supplier.
If the invoice doesn’t have all the mandatory information like the SIRET number of a customer, will the Chorus Pro platform clear it?
Will Chorus Pro also be validating the VAT rates used?
No, or at least not on the fly when submitting the invoicing data to Chorus Pro. Our understanding is that those verifications will be done by the tax authorities after the fact, using data analytics / AI algorithms.
Are there common data, connection and bridges with the current SAF-T?
The French version of SAF-T (FEC) must still be available on demand from the tax authorities.
In this section, we answer questions around compliant archiving of e-invoices.
Does the Chorus Pro/Tax Authority portal provide a compliant electronic archive for AP/AR invoices in France?
Yes. However, in our experience, even though a tax authority’s archiving solution would be available for taxable persons, few larger companies choose to solely rely on it for evidence purposes and instead continue to use their compliant internal or third-party archiving solutions.
This decision is ultimately based on the fact that the tax authority’s archiving solution poses a conflict of interest: it is maintained by the tax authority, which, from a legal perspective, is not an independent party but rather the counterparty in a fiscal claim.
In fact, from discussions with many experts and customers over that past year, we see that the market request for third-party archiving services is even stronger after the introduction of clearance, especially as customers see a need to store not only the invoice but also response messages from the CTC portal to further maintain evidence of compliance.
Still have questions about the e-invoicing mandate? Access our webinar on-demand for more information and advice on how to comply.
In the “Statement on a Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising From the Digitalization of the Economy” issued on 1 July 2021, members of the G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) have agreed upon a framework to move forward with a global tax reform deal.
This will address the tax challenges of an increasingly digital worldwide economy. As of 9 July 2021, 132 of the 139 OECD/G20 member jurisdictions have agreed to the Inclusive Framework on BEPS.
Pillar 1 gives a new taxing right, Amount A, to market countries to ensure companies pay tax on a portion of residual profits earned from activities in those jurisdictions, regardless of physical presence. Pillar 1 will apply to multinational enterprises (“MNEs”) with global turnover above 20 billion euros and profitability above 10%.
There will be a new nexus rule permitting allocation of Amount A to a market jurisdiction when the in-scope multinational enterprise derives at least 1 million euros in revenue from that jurisdiction. For jurisdictions with a GDP less than 40 billion euros, the nexus will instead be set at 250,000 euros.
The “special purpose nexus rule” determines if a jurisdiction qualifies for the Amount A allocation. Furthermore, countries have agreed on an allocation of 20-30% of in-scope MNE residual profits to market jurisdictions, with nexus using a revenue-based allocation key.
Revenue will be sourced to the end market jurisdictions where goods or services are consumed, with detailed source rules still to come.
More details on segmentation are still in the works, as is the final design of a marketing and distribution profits safe harbour that will cap the residual profits allowed to the market jurisdiction through Amount A.
Lastly, countries have agreed to streamline and simplify Amount B with a particular focus on the needs of low-capacity countries. The finalised details are expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
Pillar 2 consists of Global anti-Base Erosion (“GloBE”) Rules that will ensure MNEs that meet the 750 million euros threshold pay a minimum tax rate of at least 15%. The GloBE Rules consist of an Income Inclusion Rule and an Undertaxed Payment Rule, the latter of which still needs to be finalised.
Pillar 2 also includes a Subject to tax rule, which is a treaty-based rule, allowing source jurisdictions to impose limited source taxation on certain related party payments subject to tax below a minimum rate. The rate will range from 7.5 to 9 percent.
There is currently a commitment to continue discussion, in order to finalise the design elements of the plan within the agreed framework by October 2021. Inclusive Framework members will agree and release an implementation plan.
The current timeline is that the multilateral instrument through which Amount A is implemented will be developed and opened for signature in 2022, with Amount A coming into effect in 2021. Similarly, Pillar Two should be brought into law in 2022, to be effective in 2023.
Although the key components of the Two-Pillar Solution have been agreed upon, a detailed implementation plan that includes resolving remaining issues is still to come.
As many countries could be implementing these changes in the near future, it is important for businesses active in the digital economy to carefully track and understand the developments surrounding the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project.
Need to ensure compliance with the latest e-document regulations? Get in touch with our tax experts.
Intrastat is a reporting regime relating to the intra-community trade of goods within the EU.
Under Regulation (EC) No. 638/2004, VAT taxpayers who are making intra-community sales and purchases of goods are required to complete Intrastat declarations when the reporting threshold is breached.
Intrastat declarations must be completed in both the country of dispatch (by the seller) and the country of arrival (by the purchaser). The format and data elements of Intrastat declarations vary from country to country, though some data elements are required in all Member States. Reporting thresholds also vary by Member State.
In an effort to improve data collection and ease the administrative burden on businesses an ‘Intrastat Modernisation’ project was launched in 2017. As a result of this project Regulation (EU) 2019/2152 (the Regulation on European business statistics) was adopted.
The practical effects of these changes are two-fold:
Currently Member States are required to collect the following information as part of Intrastat:
To ease compliance burdens on small businesses, EU Member States are allowed to set thresholds, under which businesses are relieved of their obligations to complete Intrastat. Thresholds are set annually by Member States, and threshold amounts for arrivals and dispatches are set separately.
Under the current regulations, Member States cannot set thresholds at a level that results in less than 97% of dispatches from the Member State being reported and cannot set thresholds at a level that results in less than 93% of intra-community arrivals to the Member State being reported.
Under current regulations Member States are allowed to let certain small businesses report simplified information, so long as the value of trade subject to simplified reporting does not exceed 6% of total trade.
Under the upcoming new regulation, Member States need only ensure that 95% of dispatches are reported and the exchange of data on intra-community arrivals between Member States is optional.
Need to ensure compliance with the latest Intrastat requirements? Get in touch with our tax experts.
Progress has been made in the roll-out of the Polish CTC (continuous transaction control) system, Krajowy System of e-Faktur. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Finance published a draft act, which is still awaiting adoption by parliament to become law. Draft e-invoice specifications have been released and there has been a public consultation on the CTC system.
In June, the Ministry of Finance announced it had reviewed all comments submitted by the public and Polish ministers on the CTC system and decided to take the following actions:
In the announcement, the Minister outlined the benefits of adopting the CTC system for taxpayers. These include: quicker VAT refunds; security of the stored invoice in the tax authority’s database until the end of the mandatory storage period; certainty about the invoice delivery to the recipient through the CTC platform and therefore quicker invoice payments; automation of the invoice processing and exchange due to the adoption of a standardized e-invoice format.
In addition, as a result of the new e-invoicing rules upcoming changes in the SLIM VAT 2 package will trigger further relief measures, e.g. around the handling of duplicates and corrective invoices.
The Polish authorities are making good progress in the implementation of the Krajowy System e-Faktur. It is positive to see that the public consultation has proven useful in defining next steps and the authorities’ intent for transparency and timely documentation will hopefully continue throughout the entire CTC roll-out.
To find out more about what we believe the future holds, download Trends: Towards Continuous Transaction Controls.
Moving goods from one place to another is a quintessential part of business. Manufacturers, wholesalers, transporters, retailers and consumers all need to carefully orchestrate the shipping and handling of raw materials, parts, equipment, finished goods and other products to keep business flowing. This supply chain harmony is what makes production and trade possible in society.
In Canada, the United States and most European countries, tax administrations don’t intervene much in these trade processes. Until recently, the same could be said about most countries of Latin America. But, with the rise and expansion of electronic invoicing mandates in the region, this is rapidly changing.
Most governments with mature e-invoicing mandates are now recognizing that these mechanisms and government platforms can be used as vehicles to understand where, what, how and when goods are being moved. The traditional electronic invoice, is no longer enough – and tax authorities are requiring businesses to report goods movements in real-time.
The implications are serious too. Goods moved on public roads without those documents are very likely to be seized by the authorities, and the owners and transporters will be subject to fines and other sanctions.
The country with the most sophisticated system in place is arguably Brazil. The MDF-e (or Manifesto Eletrônico de Documentos Fiscais) is a mandatory document required by the tax administration in order to audit the movement of goods in Brazil.
This purely digital document combines the information of an electronic invoice (NF-e) and the electronic documents that hauling companies issue to their clients (CT-e). This system became mandatory in 2014 and has since been expanded and modernized with a vast grid of electronic sensors and transponders placed in the public highways of Brazil, intended to ensure that every truck moving goods already has the corresponding MDF-e, NF-e and CT-e. In most cases, the authorities don’t need to stop the trucks to verify the existence of the document.
Mexico recently issued a new resolution requiring taxpayers delivering goods, or simply redistributing them, to have the corresponding authorization from the tax administration (SAT). Products delivered by road, rail, air or waterways need to have what is known as the CFDI with the Supplement of Carta Porte.
CFDI is the acronym for an electronic invoice in Mexico. That supplement of Carta Porte is a new attachment to the electronic invoice of transfer (Traslado) issued by the owners delivering products or to the CFDI of Income (Ingresos) issued by the hauling companies. Carta Porte will provide all the details about the goods being transported, the truck or other means being used, the time of delivery, route, destination, purchaser, transporter and other information. This new mandate will become effective on 30 September 2021. As is in Brazil, noncompliance with this mandate will result in hefty penalties.
Chile also has a mandate requiring the delivery of goods to be pre-authorized by the tax administration. These tax authorized documents are locally known as Guias de Despacho (or dispatch guides) and since January 2020 they can only be issued in an electronic format.
There are some exceptions where the dispatch guide can be issued temporarily on a paper format by certain taxpayers. Also, in cases of contingency, taxpayers may be authorized to issue paper versions of the guide; however, that will not exempt the issuer of regularizing the process once the contingency is complete.
The content of the dispatch guide will vary depending on who issues it and the purpose of the delivery (sales, consignment, returns, exports, internal transfers etc.) but in general, delivery of goods in Chile without the authorized dispatch guide will be subject to penalties from the tax administration (SII).
Argentina has a federal level VAT and a provincial level gross revenue tax. To control tax evasion, both levels of governments exercise certain levels of control in the process of dispatching goods within their jurisdictions.
The tax authority’s system for controlling the flow of goods in public ways is not as encompassing as in Brazil, Chile and Mexico, but it is getting closer. Only the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Mendoza, plus the City of Buenos Aires, require authorization from the fiscal authority to move goods that originated in, or are destined to, their jurisdictions. For that, they require the COT (or Transport Operations Code) where all the data related to the products, means of transport and other information is included once the authorization is provided. The provinces of Salta, Rio Negro and Entre Rios are working on similar regulations.
At federal level, the AFIP (Federal tax administration) only requires pre-authorization for the delivery of certain products such as meat and cereals. But at this level too, the regulatory environment is changing.
The AFIP, along with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Transportation have issued a joint resolution 5017/2021 that mandates the use of a digital bill of lading (Carta Porte Electronica) whenever there is a transfer of agricultural products on public roads in Argentina. This change will become effective on 1 November 2021. In 2022, this federal requirement may expand to other products.
The requirement of authorization for moving goods in LatAm is not limited to the largest economies of the region. Smaller countries with electronic invoicing systems have expanded, or are in the process of expanding their mandates to require taxpayers to inform the tax authority, before goods are moved as result of a sale or any other internal distribution.
For instance, Peru requires the Guias de Remision from taxpayers before they start the delivery of their products. This electronic document should be informed to and authorized by the tax administration (SUNAT) using the digital format established for that purpose and will include all the information about the product delivered, issuer, recipient, means of transport, dates and more.
Uruguay has the ‘e-Remitos’ which is an electronic document authorized by the tax administration (DGI). It is required for any physical movement of goods in Uruguay. As in other countries, this document will provide all the information about the goods being transported, the means used, the issuer, the recipient and additional data. It is electronically delivered and authorized by the tax administration using the XML schemas established for that purpose.
Lastly, in Ecuador the tax administration (SRI) requires the ‘Guias de Remision’ (Delivery Guide) for any goods to be transported legally inside the country. As the infrastructure to support the electronic invoice is not fully developed in Ecuador, in some cases the tax administration allows the taxpayer to comply with this part of the mandate by having the electronic invoice issued by the retailer delivering the goods to his clients. Even though Colombia and Costa Rica do not require a separate electronic document to authorize the transport of goods, it is expected that in the future, this requirement will come into effect, mirroring what has happened in many other countries of the region.
The common element of all these mandates in Latin America, is that all of them are closely knitted to the electronic invoicing system imposed in each country. They are basically seen as another module of the electronic invoice system where information regarding goods being transported by public roads, waterways, by rail or air should be submitted to the tax administration, via the XML schemas established for that purpose.
Tax administrations in the region are actively enhancing their systems to ensure that movements of goods are properly controlled in real time. In some cases, tax administrations have provided online solutions aimed at taxpayers with small numbers of deliveries. But for all other taxpayers, a self-deployed solution is required.
Enforcement of the mandate is made not only by the tax administration, but also by the police and the public roads authorities, both of which routinely seize goods for non- compliance. Since these mandates have proven to be successful to control tax avoidance and smuggling, it’s safe to say that the Remitos, Dispatch Guides, Carta Porte or COTs are here to stay for good and taxpayers doing business in Latin America have no option but to comply with this new regulatory requirement.
To find out more about what we believe the future holds, download VAT Trends: Toward Continuous Transaction Controls. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up-to-date with regulatory news and updates.
More than 170 countries throughout the world have implemented a VAT system, and some of the most recent adopters are the Gulf countries. In a bid to diversify economic resources, the Gulf countries have spent the past decade investigating other ways to finance its public services.
As a result, in 2016 the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), consisting of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, signed the Common VAT Agreement to introduce a VAT system at a rate of 5%.
Following the VAT agreement, Saudi Arabia and UAE implemented VAT in 2018. Bahrain followed with a VAT regime in 2019. Most recently Oman enforced a 5% VAT from April 2021, and looking ahead both Qatar and Kuwait are expected to enact VAT laws within the next year.
After the implementation of VAT and the increase of VAT rate from 5% to 15%, Saudi Arabia has taken the next step to digitize the control mechanisms for VAT compliance.
The E-invoicing Regulation enacted in December 2020 sets out an obligation for all resident taxable persons to generate and store invoices electronically. This requirement will be enforced from 4 December 2021.
Saudi Arabia has made considerable progress since it first introduced VAT in 2018. The Saudi E-invoicing Regulation is expected to not only encourage digitization and automation for businesses, but also to achieve efficiency in VAT controls and better macro-economic data for its tax authority, a development which will likely be replicated by other GCC countries soon.
Considering the efforts involved in the digitization of government processes and the VAT implementation timeline, the next candidate for similar e-invoicing adoption would likely be the UAE. While there are currently no plans for a mandatory framework, the UAE has announced bold plans for general digitization. According to the UAE government website, “In 2021, Dubai Smart government will go completely paper-free, eliminating more than 1 billion pieces of paper used for government transactions every year, saving time, resources and the environment.”
The spread of VAT digitization is typically the second reform following VAT adoption. As Bahrain and Oman also have VAT systems in place, introduction of mandatory e-invoicing in the next a few years in these countries would not come as a surprise. The adoption of e-invoicing in Qatar and Kuwait would depend on the success of VAT implementation, therefore it is not easy to estimate when their VAT digitization journey will begin but there is no doubt that it will happen at some stage.
After the adoption of e-invoicing, the Gulf countries may continue to digitize other VAT processes, including VAT returns. Pre-population of VAT returns using the data collected through e-invoicing systems is another trend that the countries are moving towards.
Regardless of the shape and form of digitization, there will be many moving parts in terms of VAT and its execution. Businesses operating in the region should be prepared to invest in their VAT compliance processes to avoid unnecessary fines and reputational risk for non-compliance.
To find out more about what we believe the future holds, download VAT Trends: Toward Continuous Transaction Controls. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up-to-date with regulatory news and updates.
A current mega-trend in VAT is continuous transaction controls (CTCs), whereby tax administrations increasingly request business transaction data in real-time, often pre-authorising data before a business can progress to the next step in the sales or purchase workflow.
When a tax authority introduces CTCs, companies tend to view this as an additional set of requirements to be implemented inside ERP or transaction automation software by IT experts. This kneejerk reaction is understandable as implementation timelines tend to be short and potential sanctions for non-compliance significant.
But businesses would do better to approach these changes as part of an ongoing journey to avoid inefficiencies and other risks. From a tax authority perspective, CTCs are not a standalone exercise but part of a wider digital transformation strategy where all data that can be legally accessed for audit purposes is transmitted to them electronically.
In many tax authorities’ vision of digitization, each category of data is received at ‘organic’ intervals that follow the natural cadence of data processing by the businesses and data needs of governments.
Tax administrations use digitization to access data more conveniently, on a more granular level, and more frequently.
A business that doesn’t consider this continuum from the old world of reporting and audit to the new world of automated data exchange risks over-focusing on the ‘how’ – the orchestration of messages to and from a CTC platform – rather than keeping a close eye on the ‘why’ – transparency of business operations.
Data received quicker and in a structured, machine-exploitable format is infinitely more valuable for tax administrations as it gives them an opportunity to perform deeper analysis of both varying taxpayer and third-party sources of data.
If your business data is incomplete or faulty, you are likely exposing yourself to increased audits, as your bad data is under scrutiny and more transparent to the taxman.
Put differently, in a digitized world of tax, garbage-in will translate to garbage-out.
Many companies already have the magic formula to fix these data issues at their fingertips. Start by preparing for this wave of VAT digitization with a project to analyse internal data issues and work with upstream internal and external stakeholders – including suppliers – to fix them.
Tools designed to introduce automated controls for VAT filing processes can help achieve better insight into the upstream data issues that need ironing out. These same tools can also help you through the CTC journey by re-using data extraction and integration methods set up for VAT reporting for CTC transmission, thereby creating better data governance and keeping a connection between these two naturally linked processes.
A lot of bad data stems from residual paper-based processes such as paper or PDF supplier invoices or customer purchase orders. Taking measures now to switch to automated processes based on structured, fully machine-readable alternatives will make a big difference.
Improving invoice data is not the only challenge. With the inevitable broadening of document types to be submitted under CTC rules (from invoice to buy-side approval messages, to transport documents and payment status data) tax administrations will cross-check more and more of your data, as well as trading partners’ and third parties’ data — think financial institutions, customs, and other available data points.
Tax administrations are unlikely to stop their digitization efforts at indirect tax. Mandates to introduce The Standard Audit File for Tax (SAF-T ) and similar e-accounting requirements show how quickly countries are moving away from the old world of tax and onsite audits.
All this data, from multiple sources with strong authentication, will paint an increasingly detailed and undeniable picture of your business operations. It is just a matter of time before corporate income tax returns will be pre-filled by tax administrations who expect little to no legitimate changes from your side.
‘Substance over form’ is a popular aphorism in the world of tax. As more business applications and data streams become readily accessible by tax administrations, you need to start considering data quality and consistency as a first step towards thriving in the world of digitized tax enforcement.
In the end, tax administrations want to understand your business. They don’t just want data, they want meaningful information on what you do, why you do it, how you trade, with whom and when. This is also exactly what your owners and management want.
So the ultimate goals are the same between businesses and tax administrations – it’s just that businesses will often prioritise operational efficiency and financial objectives whereas tax administrations focus on getting the best, most objective information possible.
Tax administrations introducing CTCs as an objective may be a blessing in disguise, and there are benefits of introducing better analytics to your business to comply with tax administration requirements.
The real value lies in real-time insight into business operations and financial indicators such as cash management or supply chain weaknesses. This level of instant insight into your own business also enables you to always be one step ahead, leaving you in control of the picture your data is providing to governments.
CTCs are the natural next step on a journey to a brave new world of business transparency.
Download VAT Trends: Toward Continuous Transaction Controls for other perspectives on the future of tax. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up-to-date with regulatory news and developments.
Japan is in the middle of a multi-year process of updating its consumption tax system. This started with the introduction of its multiple tax rate system on 1 October 2019 and the next step is expected to be the implementation of the so-called Qualified Invoice System as a tax control measure on 1 October 2023.
Through this significant change, the Japanese government is attempting to solve a tax leakage problem that has existed for many years.
The Japanese indirect tax is referred to as Japanese Consumption Tax (JCT) and is levied on the supply of goods and services in Japan. The consumption tax rate increased from 8% to 10% on 1 October 2019. At the same time, Japan introduced multiple rates, with a reduced tax rate of 8% applied to certain transactions.
Currently, Japan doesn’t follow the common practice of including the applicable tax rate in the invoice to calculate consumption tax. Instead, the current system (called the ledger system) is based on transaction evidence and the company’s accounting books. The government believes this system causes systemic problems related to tax leakage.
A new system – the Qualified Invoice System – will be introduced from 1 October 2023 to counter this. The key difference when compared to an invoice issued today is that a qualified invoice must include a breakdown of applicable tax rates for that given transaction.
Under the new system, only registered JCT payers can issue qualified tax invoices, and on the buyer side of the transaction, taxpayers will only be eligible for input tax credit where a qualified invoice has been issued. In other words, the Qualified Invoice System will require both parties to adapt their invoicing templates and processes to specify new information as well as the need to register with the relevant tax authorities.
A transitional period for the implementation of the new e-invoicing system applies from 1 October 1 2019 until 1 October 2023.
In order to issue qualified invoices, JCT taxpayers must register with Japan’s National Tax Agency (“NTA”). It will be possible to apply for registration from 1 October 1 2021 at the earliest, and this application must be filed no later than 31 March 2023, which is six months in advance of the implementation date of the e-invoicing system. Non-registered taxpayers will not be able to issue qualified invoices.
The registered JCT payers may issue electronic invoices instead of paper-based invoices provided that certain conditions are met.
The introduction of the Qualified Invoice System will affect both Japanese and foreign companies that engage in JCT taxable transactions in Japan. To ensure proper tax calculations and input tax credit, taxpayers must make sure they understand the requirements, and update or adjust their accounting and bookkeeping systems to comply with the new requirements in advance of the implementation of the Qualified Invoice System in 2023.
Get in touch with our experts who can help you prepare for the Japanese Qualified Invoice System.
Turkey’s e-transformation journey, which started in 2010, became more systematic in 2012. This process first launched with the introduction of e-ledgers on 1 Jan 2012 and has since reached a much wider scope for e-documents. </p
The Turkish Revenue Administration (TRA), the leader of the e-transformation process, has played an important role in encouraging companies to embrace the digitalization of tax and created a successful model for following tax-related procedures.
You can read more about Turkey’s e-transformation in our e-book Navigating Turkey’s Evolving Tax Landscape.
The process was further accelerated with new requirements for e-documents.
The TRA continues to widen the scope of e-documents and the types of e-documents in use are:
Many taxpayers have voluntarily adopted the new system since the TRA launched this whole process and TRA’s latest updates for e-documents are critically important to monitor for tax-related procedures.
As e-documents become more popular, any income loss arising from tax procedures will reduce. E-documents offer additional advantages for public institutions and private businesses, such as saving time, minimising costs and improving productivity. It’s certain that the scope of e-documents in Turkey will keep expanding in the future, which will affect taxpayers and tax procedures.
Get in touch to find out how Sovos tax compliance software can help you meet your e-transformation and e-document requirements in Turkey.
In this blog, we provide an insight into continuous transaction controls (CTCs) and the terminology often associated with them.
With growing VAT gaps the world over, more tax authorities are introducing increasingly stringent controls. Their aim is to increase efficiency, prevent fraud and increase revenue.
One of the ways governments can gain greater insight into a company’s transactions is by introducing CTCs. These mandates require companies to send their invoice data to the tax authority in real-time or near-real-time. One popular CTC method requires an invoice to be cleared before it can be issued or paid. In this way, the tax authority has not only visibility but actually asserts a degree of operational control over business transactions.
The basic principle of VAT (value-added tax) is that the government gets a percentage of the value added at each step of an economic chain. The chain ends with the consumption of the goods or services by an individual. VAT is paid by all parties in the chain including the end customer. However only businesses can deduct their input tax.
Many governments use invoices as primary evidence in determining “indirect” taxes owed to them by companies. VAT is by far the most significant indirect tax for nearly all the world’s trading nations. Many countries with VAT see the tax contribute more than 30% of all public revenue.
The VAT gap is the overall difference between expected VAT revenues and the amount actually collected.
In Europe, the VAT gap amounts to approximately €140 billion every year according to the latest report from the European Commission. This amount represents a loss of 11% of the expected VAT revenue in the block. Globally we estimate VAT due but not collected by governments because of errors and fraud could be as high as half a trillion EUR. This is similar to the GDP of countries like Norway, Austria or Nigeria. The VAT gap represents some 15-30% of VAT due worldwide.
Continuous transaction controls is an approach to tax enforcement. It’s based on the electronic submission of transactional data from a taxpayer’s systems to a platform designated by the tax administration, that takes place just before/during or just after the actual exchange of such data between the parties to the underlying transaction.
A popular CTC is often referred to as the ‘clearance model’ because the invoice data is effectively cleared by the tax administration and in near or real-time. In addition, CTCs can be a strong tool for obtaining unprecedented amounts of economic data that can be used to inform fiscal and monetary policy.
The first steps toward this radically different means of enforcement began in Latin American within years of the early 2000s. Other emerging economies such as Turkey followed suit a decade later. Many countries in LatAm now have stable CTC systems. These require a huge amount of data for VAT enforcement from invoices. Other key data – such as payment status or transport documents – may also be harvested and pre-approved directly at the time of the transaction.
Electronic or e-invoicing is the sending, receipt and storage of invoices in electronic format without the use of paper invoices for tax compliance or evidence purposes. Scanning incoming invoices or exchanging e-invoice messages in parallel to paper-based invoices is not electronic invoicing from a legal perspective. E-invoicing is often required as part of a CTC mandate, but this doesn’t have to be the case; in India, for example, the invoice must be cleared by the tax administration, but it’s not mandatory to subsequently exchange the invoice in a digital format.
The objective of CTCs and e-invoicing mandates is often to use business data that is controlled at the source, during the actual transactions, to prefill or replace VAT returns. This means that businesses must maintain a holistic understanding of the evolution of CTCs and their use by tax administrations for their technology and organisational planning.
As more governments realise the revenue and economic statistics benefits that introducing these tighter controls bring, we’re seeing more mandates on the horizon. We expect the rise of indirect tax regimes based on CTCs to accelerate sharply in the coming five to 10 years. Our expectation is that most countries that currently have VAT, GST or similar indirect taxes will have adopted such controls fully, or partially, by 2030.
Looking ahead, as of today we know that in Europe within the next few years that France, Bulgaria and also Poland will all introduce CTCs. Saudi Arabia has also recently published rules for e-invoicing and many others will follow suit.
Upcoming mandates present an opportunity for a company’s digital transformation rather than a challenge. If viewed with the right mindset. But, as with all change, preparation is key. Global companies should allow enough time and resources to strategically plan for upcoming CTC and other VAT digitization requirements. A global VAT compliance solution will suit their needs both today and into the future as the wave of mandates gains momentum across the globe.
Since 1993, supplies performed between Italy and San Marino have been accompanied by a set of customs obligations. These include the submission of paperwork to both countries’ tax authorities.
After the introduction of the Italian e-invoicing mandate in 2019, Italy and San Marino started negotiations to expand the use of e-invoices in cross-border transactions between the two countries. Those negotiations have finally bore fruit, and details are now available.
Italy and the enclaved country of San Marino will abandon paper-based customs flows.
The Italian and Sammarinese tax authorities have decided to implement a “four-corner” model, whereby the Italian clearance platform SDI will become the access point for Italian taxpayers, while a newly created HUB-SM will be the SDI counterpart for Sammarinese taxpayers.
Cross-border e-invoices between the countries will be exchanged between SDI and HUB-SM. The international exchange system will be enforced on 1 July 2022, and a transition period will be in place between 1 October 2021 and 30 June 2022.
HUB-SM’s technical specifications are now available for imports from Italy to San Marino, and exports from San Marino to Italy. The countries have also decided to choose FatturaPA as the e-invoice format, although content requirements for export invoices from San Marino will slightly differ from domestic Italian FatturaPA e-invoices.
The SDI and HUB-SM systems will process e-invoices to and from taxpayers connected to them, or under each country’s jurisdictions.
In other words, Italian taxpayers will send and receive cross-border invoices to or from San Marino via the SDI platform, while Sammarinese taxpayers will perform the same activities via HUB-SM.
Both platforms will deliver invoices to the corresponding taxpayers through the Destination Codes assigned by the respective tax authorities. This means HUB-SM will also assign Destination Codes for Sammarinese companies.
Inspired by the Italian methodology for fiscal controls in cross-border transactions, San Marino will require Sammarinese buyers to fill out an additional integration document (similar to a “self-billing” invoice created for tax evidence reasons) upon receipt of the FatturaPA. This document will be filled out in a new XML-RSM format created by the enclave and sent to HUB-SM.
After the larger rollout of the SDI for B2B transactions in 2019, the platform has proven capable of adapting to new workflows and functionalities.
Since last year, e-purchase orders from the Italian National Health System have been exchanged through the NSO, an add-on to the SDI platform. In January 2022, the FatturaPA replaces the Esterometro as a cross-border reporting mechanism.
SDI has already debuted in the international arena through the acceptance of the e-invoices following the European Norm, which are mapped into a FatturaPA before being delivered to Italian buyers. This integration between SDI and HUB-SM might also reveal the early steps of interoperability between both tax authorities’ platforms for cross-border trade.
Get in touch with our experts who can help you understand how SDI and HUB-SM will work together.
Download VAT Trends: Toward Continuous Transaction Controls to find out more about the future of tax systems around the world.
Starting in 2023, French VAT rules will require businesses to issue invoices electronically for domestic transactions with taxable persons and to obtain ‘clearance’ on most invoices before their issue. Other transactions, such as cross-border and B2C, will be reported to the tax authority in the “normal” way.
This will be a major undertaking for affected companies and although the changes are more than a year away, planning should start now. But what does planning mean in the context of a continuous transaction control (CTC) rollout? What have businesses on the cusp of such a transformation learnt when faced with the same challenge in countries such as Italy, India, Mexico and Spain? And how can businesses leverage those best practices for future CTC rollouts?
We share the points businesses should consider when planning for any CTC rollout, which can be used as a checklist for the France 2023 mandate to help you prepare.
Once you’ve answered the questions above, you’ll be in a good position to both plan the roadmap to ensure compliant processes in time for the entry into force, as well as to estimate the cost and secure the needed funding for the project.
Norway announced its intentions to introduce a new digital VAT return in late 2020, with an intended launch date of 1 January 2022. Since then, businesses have wondered what this change would mean for them and how IT teams would need to prepare systems to meet this new requirement. Norway has since provided ample guidance so businesses can begin preparations sooner rather than later.
With this new VAT return, the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) seeks to provide simplification in reporting, better administration, and improved compliance.
This new VAT return provides for an additional 11 boxes, increasing the count from 19 to 30 boxes which are based on existing SAF-T codes to allow for more detailed reporting and flexibility. It’s important to note that the obligation to submit a SAF-T file will not change with the introduction of this new VAT return.
This change is for the VAT return only – with the SAF-T codes being re-used and re-purposed to provide additional information. Businesses must still comply with the Norwegian SAF-T mandate where applicable and must also submit this new digital VAT return.
Skatteetaten has created many web pages with detailed information for businesses to look through over the next few months including the following:
Norway is encouraging direct ERP submission of the VAT return where possible. However, the tax authorities have announced that manual upload via the Altinn portal will still be available. Login and authentication of the end user or system is carried out via ID-porten.
Additionally, Norway has provided a method for validation for the VAT return file, which should be tested before submission to increase the probability that the file is accepted by the tax authorities. The validator will validate the content of a tax return and should return a response with any errors, deviations, or warnings. This is done by checking the message format and the composition of the elements in the VAT return.
Businesses should begin preparations for the implementation of this new VAT return, as there will likely be challenges along the way.
In addition to the new VAT return, Norway has also announced plans to implement a sales and purchase report, which is currently in an early proposal stage in review with the Ministry of Finance. The next phase is mandatory public consultation which is when a desired launch date will be set. Skatteetaten notes that implementation time will be considered when determining an introduction date for the report.
Get in touch to find out how we can help your business prepare for Norway’s 2022 Digital VAT Return requirements. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest regulatory news and updates.
Sovos recently sponsored a benchmark report with SAP Insider to better understand how SAP customers are adapting their strategies and technology investments to evolve their finance and accounting organizations. This blog hits on some of the key points covered in the report and offers some direct responses made by survey respondents, as well as conclusions made by the report author. To get the full report, please download your complimentary copy of SAP S/4HANA Finance and Central Finance: State of the Market.
In this year’s benchmark report, research found that most companies are focused on reducing complexity and cost as a primary driver of their overall finance and accounting, including tax, strategies. With this reduction, they are working to solve their biggest pain point which continues to be a lack of visibility into financial transactions and reporting.
The survey revealed several key strategies and investments that SAPinsiders are prioritizing to evolve their finance and accounting processes and organizations. The number one driver of finance and accounting strategy in 2021 is to reduce cost and complexity. This was named by 57% of our audience as the top driver of their finance and accounting strategy. This jumped 24% from last year. To support their top drivers, a majority (56%) of the finance and accounting teams in the study plan to increase their use of automation in 2021.
Clean and harmonized data and a centralized single point of truth are the most important requirements that SAPinsiders are prioritizing. 83% of survey respondents report that clean data is important or very important, while 80% highlight the significance of the Universal Journal in centralizing critical information.
How do technology and tax intersect?
Continued complexity within core financial and accounting systems is limiting organizations’ ability to adapt rapidly to changing business conditions and provide real-time visibility into operations. That is why the number one driver of finance and accounting strategy based on this year’s survey is the pressure to cut both cost and complexity.
Survey responses and interviews with customers about their largest sources of pain consistently mention system and process complexity as one of their most significant challenges. Respondents are focused on addressing this obstacle in a variety of ways such as through investments in analytics, automation, centralization, and system consolidation.
This directly impacts how companies approach tax as rapidly changing global tax laws and mandates often have organizations playing catch up to ensure they are charging and remitting the proper amounts of tax to each country in which they operate. Failure to do this can lead to costly audits, potential fines and penalties and damage to brand reputation.
Why move to SAP S/4HANA Finance?
Simplicity, speed, and easy access to data were among the top benefits cited by survey respondents who have completed or nearly completed their move to SAP S/4HANA Finance. Several mentioned the ease with which they can go from high-level reports and drill down to the document or line-item level, making it easier to understand the numbers and perform in-depth analysis quickly. This directly aligns with the pain points that were identified in the benchmark report survey.
What is clear from this survey and subsequent report is that complexity across all layers of finance is having a direct impact on a companies’ ability to function at the highest operational level possible and is threating to impact the bottom line.
Accounting for tax early in your migration strategies and technology upgrades is a key component to ensuring that you are prepared to handle the challenges of modern tax on an international scale. For companies that operate on a multi-national basis, having a centralized approach to tax with enhanced visibility and reporting capabilities is imperative to achieving and remaining compliant no matter how many changes to tax law are introduced every year.
Please download the full report for a more detailed explanation of these critical areas of focus.
Ready to learn more about the impact SAP S/4HANA Finance can have on your tax organization? Download your complementary copy of the SAP S/4HANA Finance and Central Finance: State of the Market report for all the latest information.
Six months after Brexit there’s still plenty of confusion. Our VAT Managed Services and Consultancy teams continue to get lots of questions. So here are answers to some of the more common VAT compliance concerns post-Brexit.
Since Brexit, the UK has changed the way import VAT is accounted for. Before January 2021, you had to pay or defer import VAT at the time the goods entered the UK. Because of the volumes of trade between the UK and the EU, the government have understandably changed this. So, now rather than having to pay import VAT you can choose to postpone it to the VAT return. In practice, this effectively means it’s paid and recovered on the same VAT return. This is a significant cash flow benefit. It’s common among many EU Member States and it was allowed in the UK many years ago. The UK reintroduced it from the start of this year.
There’s no need to be approved to use postponed VAT accounting but an election to use it must be made when completing each customs declaration. It doesn’t happen automatically and the reality is that businesses can choose whether they want to use it or not. The import VAT is then accounted for in box 1 of the UK VAT return and then recovered in box 4. If you’re a fully taxable business and the VAT is recoverable, this will mean that there is no need to make any payment of the import VAT. There are no costs involved in using postponed VAT accounting. The business will have to download a monthly statement from the Customs Declaration Service. The statement shows the postponed amount of VAT.
There are also import VAT accounting mechanisms in place in the EU but they vary from country to country. If you’re a UK business and you’re going to be the importer of the goods into the EU, there is the ability to use postponed accounting in some other countries but the rules on how it applies can vary. In some countries it’s like the UK, so no permission required.
In others you’ll need to make an application and meet the conditions in place. If there is no postponed VAT accounting, there may be the opportunity to defer import VAT which can still provide a cash flow benefit. It’s really important that companies understand how it works in the Member State of import, and if it’s available to them as it can have a big impact on cash flow. It’s good news that the UK have reintroduced postponed VAT accounting as it’s certainly a benefit and applies to all imports, not just those that come from the EU.
I’m shipping my own goods to a third party logistics provider in the Netherlands. I will ship the goods to customers around the EU. How do I value the goods for customs purposes as they remain in my ownership? They’re not of UK origin so customs duty may apply.
This question comes up a lot as customs valuation, like the principle of origin has not arisen for many years for UK companies who have only traded with the EU.
The rules on customs valuation are complex. In this scenario, there is no sale of the goods. So it’s not possible to use the transaction value which is the default valuation method. As customs duty is not recoverable, it’s essential that the correct valuation method is used. This minimises the amount of duty paid and also to remove the possibility of the customs and VAT authorities challenging a valuation. We would recommend seeking specialist advice.
When goods go from Great Britain to the EU, we’re currently in the transition period between Brexit and the introduction of the EU e-commerce VAT package which comes into play on 1 July 2021. Until then, whether you need to be registered or not in an EU country depends on the arrangements in place with your customer. If you sell on a Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) basis, you’re undertaking to import those goods into the EU. So if you do that, you’ll incur import VAT on entry into each country and then make a local sale. If you do that in every Member State country, you’ll have to register for VAT in every Member State.
It should be noted that these are the rules for GB to EU sales and not those from Northern Ireland. This is because the Northern Ireland protocol treats NI to EU sales under the EU rules. The distance selling rules that were in force before the end of 2020 still apply.
Going forward, the EU has recognised that this isn’t really a manageable system. There has been significant abuse of low value consignment relief. LCVR relieves imports of up to €22 from VAT. So they’re introducing a new concept – the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS). IOSS will be available from 1 July 2021 as part of the EU E-Commerce VAT package. From this point, the principle is that for goods with an intrinsic value of below €15. you can use the IOSS. IOSS accounts for VAT in all the countries to which you deliver. You only need a VAT registration in one country where you then pay all your VAT. You submit one return in that country on a monthly basis. This should simplify VAT compliance and ease the admin burden.
There will also be a One Stop Shop (OSS) for intra-EU transactions. So the simplifications ahead will reduce the burden to businesses. What’s important is making sure you review your options. Make an informed decision as to which is the right scheme for your business. Ensure you can comply with VAT obligations to avoid VAT compliance problems in the future.
In Poland, the Ministry of Finance proposed several changes to the country’s mandatory JPK_V7M/V7K reports. These will take effect on 1 July 2021. The amendments offer administrative relief to taxpayers in some areas but create potential new hurdles elsewhere.
The JPK_V7M/V7K reports – Poland’s attempt to merge the summary reporting of a VAT Return with the detailed information of a SAF-T – have been in effect since October 2020. Taxpayers must submit these reports (V7M for monthly filers, V7K for quarterly filers) in place of the previously-used VAT Return and JPK_VAT files.
The JPK_V7M/V7K reports require taxpayers to designate within each file the invoices subject to special VAT treatment. For example, invoices representing transfers between related parties or invoices for transactions subject to Poland’s split payment regime.
Split payment designations are particularly complex for taxpayers to manage. Poland’s split payment regime is broadly applicable. In some cases can be exercised at the buyer’s option. This makes it difficult for sellers to predict which of their invoices should be marked.
As a result of these complexities, and in response to taxpayer feedback, the draft amendment for 1 July would abolish the split payment designation. This would significantly reduce the administrative burden on taxpayers.
The draft amendment does, however, give rise to an additional complexity in the reporting of bad debts. Under the amended rules, taxpayers need to indicate the original due date of the payment for an unpaid invoice. For which the taxpayer is seeking a VAT relief. This is intended to help the tax authority verify bad debt relief claims. This could potentially present difficulty for taxpayers who do not maintain such information or cannot easily access it in their accounting systems.
Finally, the draft amendment would modify reporting of cross-border business to consumer (B2C) supplies of goods. This is as well as similar supplies of electronic services. These supplies are at the heart of the European Union’s One-Stop Shop regime that takes effect 1 July 2021, and as such, the current invoice designations for these supplies in JPK_V7M/V7K would be consolidated into a single, new invoice designation under the amended rules.
Poland’s JPK_V7M/V7K filings are enormously ambitious in scope. It is clear from these latest proposals that the tax authority is willing to make substantial adjustments to the structure of these filings, at very short notice. In such a dynamic landscape, it is critical that businesses stay on top of regulatory developments in order to remain compliant.
Need to ensure compliance with the latest Polish VAT regulations? Get in touch with our tax experts.