Welcome to the 13th edition of Sovos’ annual Trends report where we put a spotlight on current and near-term legal requirements across regions and VAT compliance domains.
This report provides a comprehensive look at the regulatory landscape as governments across the globe are enacting complex new policies to enforce VAT mandates. It examines the demanding and unprecedented insight now required into your economic data so that regulatory authorities enforce standards and close revenue gaps.
This year’s report examines the evolution of law and practice around the four emerging megatrends that Sovos experts identified in the 12th edition. These trends, many of which revolve around tax compliance and controls being ‘always on’, have the potential to drive change in the way organizations approach regulatory reporting and manage compliance.
Authored by a team of international tax compliance experts, we provide extensive recommendations on how companies can prepare for and thrive through these changes.
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The four mega-trends that we examine are:
Continuous Transaction Controls (CTCs) – Countries with existing CTC regimes are seeing improvements in revenue collection and economic transparency. Now, other countries in Europe, Asia and Africa are moving away from post-audit regulation to adoption of these CTC-inspired approaches. The report highlights how countries like France and Hungary have accelerated their transition to CTCs, and how many jurisdictions are combining invoice controls with CTC transport documents, thereby expanding their real-time reach from financial to physical supply chains.
A shift toward destination taxability for certain cross-border transactions – Cross-border services have historically often escaped VAT collection in the country of the consumer. Due to a large increase of cross-border trade in low-value goods and digital services over the past decade, administrations are taking significant measures to tax such supplies in the country of consumption or destination.
Aggregator liability – With the increase of tax reporting or e-invoicing obligations across different taxpayer categories, tax administrations are increasingly looking for ways to concentrate tax reporting liability in platforms that naturally aggregate large numbers of transactions already. Ecommerce marketplaces and business transaction management cloud vendors will increasingly be on the hook for sending data from companies on their networks to the government, potentially even inheriting liability for paying their taxes. The report notes how the July 2021 introduction of sweeping changes in e-commerce VAT legislation via OSS and IOSS are confirming this trend.
E-accounting and e-assessment – Combining CTCs with obligations to synchronize entire accounting ledgers makes onsite audit necessary only in cases showing major anomalies across these rich data sources. Over time, the objective is for VAT returns and other tax reports to be prefilled by the tax administration based on taxpayers’ own, strongly authenticated source system data. A brief deep-dive into the origins and potential future of SAF‑T shows how this trend is evolving to become a solid companion to CTCs globally.
CTCs have emerged as the primary concern for multinational companies looking to ensure compliance despite growing diversity in VAT enforcement approaches. Tax authorities are steadfast in their commitment to closing the VAT gap and will use all tools at their disposal to collect revenue owed. This holds especially true in the aftermath of COVID-19, when governments are expected to face unprecedented budget shortfalls.
The potential costs and risks associated with the trends highlighted in the report cannot be effectively mitigated with a reactive or opportunistic approach. The digital transformation of tax administration can – if approached as just an evolution of the legacy ‘post audit’ VAT world – significantly contract the digital transformation of businesses. This report suggests an analysis framework that companies can use to ensure ongoing VAT compliance whilst maximizing the opportunities of modern information and communication technologies for their own benefit.
In addition, Trends includes a major review of the country and regional requirement profiles. These profiles provide a snapshot of current and near-term planned legal requirements across the different VAT compliance domains.
The Colombian electronic invoicing system is reaching maturity level. Since its inception in 2018, Colombia has been steadily consolidating and expanding the mandate to make it more stable, reliable and comprehensive.
As a result of the enactment of the recent Resolution 000013/2021, the Colombian tax administration (DIAN), officially expanded the electronic invoicing mandate to also include payroll transactions. This expansion follows the pattern established by Mexico, Brazil and other countries that already expanded the electronic invoicing mandate to payroll transactions as well.
The Support Document for Electronic Payroll is known locally in Colombia as Documento Soporte de Nomina Electronica or also simply as Nomina Electronica. It is a new digital document intended to support and validate the payroll related costs and deductions of income tax and the VAT credits (if applicable) when businesses make payments resulting from labor, legal, and other similar types of relations (pensions).
In simple terms, labour cost transactions should be reported under this new digital system for them to be valid. This is whenever employers make payments for wages, salaries, reimbursements, pensions etc.
Who is required to comply with the electronic payroll mandate?
Employers paying wages under a labor relation, where payments are reported as expenses for income tax purposes or as deductible taxes for VAT, need to comply. However, there are important exceptions derived from that legal framework. For instance, public offices, non-for-profit entities or taxpayers under the simplified regime are not currently required to comply. Consequently, they do not need to use such payments for deductions of income tax or VAT.
Schedule of deployment
The DIAN established an implementation schedule based on the number of employees the taxpayer has in the payroll. There are four stages or groups subject to the following deadlines:
Deadline to start the generation and remittance of the document
Number of employees
1 September 2021
More than 250 employees101
1 October 2021
1 November 2021
1 December 2021
Deadline for remittance
As the Nomina Electronica is required to be reported monthly, the payments for each month should be reported by the 10th day of the next month as a result. The adjustment notes should be reported within the same deadline, once they have been made by the employer.
Reporting elements of the electronic payroll mandate
There are two basic types of reports that are parts of this mandate: the Support Document of the electronic payroll, and – when necessary – the Adjustment Note.
Support Document of Electronic Payroll or Nomina Electronica
This electronic document contains the information supporting the payments made to employees as wages and other compensations, deductions and the difference between them made by the employer, as reported in the payroll. The employer must then generate and transmit the document to the DIAN using the XML format established in the technical documentation included in the regulation 000037/2021.
In this mandate there are no credit notes as we know them in the electronic invoice system of Colombia. However, when an employer needs to make corrections to the Support Document of Electronic Payroll reported to the DIAN, it can issue what we know as Adjustment Notes (or Notas de Ajuste) where the employer will be allowed to correct any value previously reported to the DIAN via the Nomina Electronica.
Content and structure of the reports
Employers must submit reports to the DIAN individualised for each beneficiary receiving payments from the employers. As a result, the report requires the provision of some mandatory information for the DIAN to validate. This includes the proper identification of the report itself, the reporting party, in addition to the employees, wages or other payments employees, date, numbering, software etc.
Another mandatory information element that is worth mentioning is the CUNE or Unique Code of Electronic Payroll Support Document. This is a unique identifier for each Electronic Payroll Support Document. It will allow exact identification of each report or the Adjustment Notes issued after it. However, there is some additional optional information that can be provided depending on the needs or convenience of the employer making the report.
From a technical perspective, neither the Support Document of the Electronic Payroll nor the Adjustment Notes are based on the UBL 2.1 structure used in Colombia for the electronic invoice. This is because the UBL standard does not include modules for payroll transactions or reports. Therefore, the DIAN has based its architecture in a different XML standard. Each report requires a digital signature. For that, the taxpayer can use the same digital certificate used for signing electronic invoices.
Generation, transmission and validation
The current regulations do not require that the Nomina Electronica or the Adjustment Notes should be generated by a particular software solution or by a software provider authorized by the DIAN. Taxpayers have the option to generate the report using their own solution. That is a market solution or a solution that the DIAN will provide for small taxpayers. However, all reports should strictly follow the technical documentation issued by the DIAN within the Resolution 000037/2021. The remittance of those documents is electronic, using the webservices specified by the DIAN.
After making the transmission, the DIAN then validates the document. They will then report back the corresponding application response to the taxpayer, indicating its acceptance and validation. Only then, will the amounts reported in the payroll document are valid expenses for the deduction.
Penalties and sanctions
Non-compliance with electronic payroll in Colombia will be subject to the same fines and penalties established for not complying with the electronic invoicing mandate, as defined in Art. 652-1 of the Tax Code of Colombia (Estatuto Tributario). But the most important implication of non-compliance is that any payment not reported by the employer, will not be allowed as expenses for income tax or VAT purposes when applicable.