All European countries charge VAT on goods and services. VAT is a consumption tax added during each production stage of goods or services.

Although VAT is near-universal according to the EU VAT Directive, VAT rates within the EU do differ.

This is because the EU VAT Directive allows Member States to choose whether to implement specific measures. Our guide on understanding VAT compliance explores this in more detail.

When and where is the VAT between European countries charged?

Authorities in the EU charge VAT on all taxable supplies of goods or services at each stage of the supply chain. Our blog on who pays VAT, the buyer or seller, explains why in more depth. This is a significant distinction from Sales Tax, which only applies to the final supply. Some goods and services, such as healthcare and financial services, are exempt from VAT.

Companies must also distinguish if they are supplying goods or services to another business (B2B) or a private individual (B2C). This difference dictates how and where they need to charge VAT.

Supply of services

The general rule for B2B is that the product or service is taxed where the customer is established, while B2C services are taxed in the supplier’s country.

There are some special rules, however, such as those related to immovable property or events.

Supply of goods to businesses (B2B)

The situation starts to get complicated when transporting goods between countries. The taxable person must take the nature of the goods supplied and how the supply takes place into account.

When dispatching or transporting goods between businesses in different EU Member States, Intra-Community Supply (ICS) and Intra-Community Acquisition (ICA) of goods occur. An Intra-Community Supply of goods is a transaction where the goods are dispatched or transported by, or on behalf of, the supplier or customer between the EU Member States and is exempt, providing it meets certain conditions.

At the same time, a customer making an Intra-Community Acquisition is a taxable transaction. Where the ICA has been carried out define the location of tax, namely the location of the goods after the transport has finished.

Different rules apply to the export of goods to countries outside of the EU where the VAT is charged in the country of import. Instead, the location of the goods once they’ve arrived sets where the supply is. It is then treated as zero-rated in the Member State of export if it meets specific evidence requirements.

We know how complicated this sounds and our experienced team can answer your questions about this side of VAT. Contact our VAT experts here.

How VAT is charged

Generally, the business charges output VAT on the supply when the supplier carries out a taxable supply. The customer then deducts input VAT on the purchase, if valid to do so.

In some instances, the reverse charge mechanism applies. The reverse charge requires the customer to account for the VAT and is also known as a ‘tax shift’.

Where it applies, the customer acts as both the supplier and the customer for VAT purposes. The company charges itself the applicable VAT and then, where that service relates to taxable supplies, it recovers the VAT as input tax in the VAT return. The VAT charged is instantly reclaimed.

Typically, the customer must provide the supplier with a valid EU VAT number to use the reverse charge.

For an entry-level explanation of VAT, why not read our blog ‘who pays VAT, the buyer or seller?’.

Supply of goods to consumers (B2C)

Whilst the general rule on supplies of goods above applies, the rules have changed over the years to apply VAT where the goods are consumed.

When a business sends goods from one Member State to a private individual residing in another Member State, the VAT rate of the country of the customer should apply – unless the supplier can benefit from the EUR 10,000 threshold per annum.

In such a case, the supplier can charge the domestic VAT rate and report the sales below this threshold in the domestic VAT return. However, this exemption does not apply to suppliers established outside the EU or keeping stock in several EU countries.

To minimise the administrative burden of businesses registering in all EU Member States where the goods are delivered, the EU launched the OSS (One Stop Shop).

OSS schemes have simplified the supply of goods by taxable persons to private consumers:

Businesses established in the EU are entitled to use the Union and Import schemes, whereas non-EU companies can take advantage of the non-Union, Union and import schemes.

IOSS (Import One Stop Shop) simplifies the registration obligations for sellers established outside of the EU that sell goods to private individuals in the EU. Similar rules apply for the OSS, allowing the seller to register in one Member State where they account for VAT in their VAT returns.

Other advantages of using this scheme include exemption from import VAT and avoiding customs duties. This scheme, however, is restricted to consignments up to EUR 150.

As per the legislative proposal published by the European Commission on 8 December 2022, the EU intends to widen the scope of OSS to cover more goods and services.

How does VAT work between EU countries?

Ready for a deeper dive into VAT rates? Here’s an overview.

Standard rates

 The EU’s lowest agreed standard VAT rate in the VAT Directive is 15%, but it is not applicable in any of the EU Member States. The lowest standard VAT rate in the EU is in Luxembourg at 17%, followed by Malta at 18% and Cyprus, Germany and Romania at 19%. Hungary is one of the EU countries with the highest VAT rate at 27%, followed by Croatia, Denmark and Sweden with 25%.

Reduced rates

 Annexe III of the VAT Directive mentions the threshold for applying reduced rates within the EU Member States. The rate cannot be below 5%.

Special rates

 There are three types of special rates:

Do I now charge VAT to EU customers?

When concluding if you should charge VAT to your customers in the EU, consider the following:

EU VAT is always subject to change, so don’t be caught with outdated information. Follow our blog for the latest news on EU VAT rates and analysis of major developments the moment they happen or speak to an expert.

The EU VAT E-Commerce package has been in place since 1 July 2021. This applies to intra-EU B2C supplies of goods and imports of low value goods. Three schemes make up the package. These are based on the value of goods and the location of the sale of goods.

All OSS schemes are currently optional. The schemes mean taxpayers can register in a single EU Member State and account for the VAT due in other Member States.

For companies outside of the EU, the package schemes that apply are:

Want to understand how OSS and IOSS work? Keep reading!

Have IOSS specific questions? Our tax experts answer common questions in our IOSS guide.

How to ship to Europe

Exporting products to the EU is challenging. Couriers often have a bewildering number of services. Prices differ from service to service.

There’s no easy way to find fast, cost-effective shipping services, but here are tips to help:

  1. Look for couriers that have information about IOSS and OSS on their websites already
  2. Familiarise yourself with customs forms for the country of import
  3. Ask your courier how they support the schemes and can support your business
  4. Confirm if your carrier can act as an indirect customs representative if you do not have an EU establishment

Does my company need a VAT number?

Businesses with a certain turnover must register for VAT. This varies from country to country. For example, the UK’s VAT threshold is £85,000 for established businesses. If you are interested in a business solution, please get in touch with our sales team.

How do I get a VAT number?

Registering for VAT takes time. Each Member State has its own process for obtaining a VAT number. VAT compliance differs from Member State to Member State.

For non-EU companies, appointing a Fiscal Representative might be necessary. A Fiscal Representative acts on behalf of companies in a local VAT jurisdiction, managing VAT reporting and other requirements. For IOSS, most non-EU businesses will need an IOSS intermediary.

We know registering for VAT is difficult and involves understanding place of supply rules, fiscal representation and many other elements.

The EU VAT E-Commerce package enables taxpayers to register in one Member State to account for VAT in all Member States.

Benefits of applying for a VAT number as a non-EU business

In most cases, a VAT number will be mandatory because of your business’ activity; in some cases, it will be voluntary. There are many benefits to applying for a VAT number.

These include preventing financial penalties and receiving EU VAT refunds. EU VAT refunds depend on certain circumstances, such as on VAT exempt items.

How to register for OSS

The OSS scheme is currently optional. Before registering businesses should consider the benefits and impact on their supply chain.

When a supplier obtains either an the Member State that grants the VAT number becomes known as the Member State of Identification.

Registering for OSS in the UK

As the UK is no longer part of the EU, registering for OSS as a UK business means using the Non-Union OSS, Union OSS or IOSS schemes. There is no need to have a normal VAT registration in the EU to apply for IOSS or a non-Union OSS VAT registration, however, a local EU registration is required before obtaining the OSS registration.

The first step is to understand if an needs appointing. The intermediary, usually an agent or broker, submits the IOSS returns on behalf of the company.

The UK business will need to choose the Member State it wants to register with for the non-Union OSS scheme.

If the UK business has warehouses in the EU, then the company will still need local in each Member State with a warehouse, but they can choose one Member State for OSS registration.

The Northern Ireland Protocol adds even more complexity to cross-border trade. Stop browsing the internet for unhelpful answers; contact our experts for advice instead.

Our team of experts can help you understand OSS and IOSS further. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today, especially about the Northern Ireland Protocol’s effect on trade.

 

FAQ for non-EU countries

What is VAT number called in USA?

The USA doesn’t have VAT. The equivalent is Sales Tax, with its own permit and tax ID.

DO US companies have a VAT number?

If a US company wants to sell goods into Europe it can register for a VAT number with the relevant Member State tax authority. The business’ supply chain will determine if / where a VAT registration is required.

Do US companies have to pay UK VAT?

This depends on the product or service and whether the US company has activity in the UK that requires it to become VAT registered such as selling low value goods or importing in its own name into the UK.

How much is international shipping to Europe?

The cost of international shipping to Europe varies, depending on where you send goods from and how quick delivery is.

How much does it cost to ship from USA to Europe?

Costs for shipping from the USA to Europe vary, depending on if they are express or standard shipping times. Different couriers charge different prices too.

What is the cheapest way to ship a package from USA to Europe?

This depends on package size, insurance and delivery speed.

How long is shipping from EU to US?

Shipping from the EU to the US can take anywhere from four days to four weeks, depending on customs and import requirements.

 

You want to sell and trade within the EU with ease?

Speak to our experts. They will navigate you through the complexities of the EU VAT landscape.

Nearly every major economy has a form of VAT. That’s 165 countries, each with its own compliance and reporting rules. The main exception is the United States. VAT is by far the most significant indirect tax for nearly all the world’s countries. Globally VAT contributes more than 30% of all government revenue.

Levying VAT is a term used to describe when a company collects VAT on behalf of a tax authority. This happens at each stage in a supply chain when a taxable event occurs. A country’s tax rules define what a taxable event is.

In a nutshell, VAT essentially turns private companies into tax collectors.

How VAT works

VAT is due on nearly all goods and services. This is up to, and including, the final sale to a consumer – that’s you and me.

Applied correctly, VAT should be cost neutral for most businesses. Companies collect VAT from their suppliers, then pay this money to the government. In the UK, this is normally every three months.

As a business this means:

Companies can reclaim the VAT on some of their purchases. When applicable, this means your business pays less VAT when its VAT return is due.

Essentially, this encourages businesses to spend and help an economy grow.

Another thing a company can do is postpone its VAT accounting. There are different reasons why this is allowed, for example, in relation to import VAT.

We know VAT isn’t easy. Speak to one of our tax experts today about overcoming your VAT compliance headaches.

VAT returns

So what is a VAT return?

A VAT return is a document listing all the VAT you have collected and what you are reclaiming VAT on along with various other information on sales and purchases in the period.

Submitting VAT returns is a legal requirement in most countries. The format and frequency vary around the EU, so it’s essential to keep

In addition to VAT returns, businesses might have to submit other declarations. This depends on the company’s trading activity and the requirements in the Member State of registration. This could include or . These can be quite complicated, as we explain here.

Understanding your VAT obligations also requires mapping a supply chain for the country of registration.

The following information applies to larger businesses or businesses selling into the EU.

EU VAT can be overwhelming and exhausting. For some relief, why not download our European VAT guide.

Sales Tax vs VAT

So, what is the difference between Sales Tax and VAT?

VAT is a broad-based consumption tax and a form of indirect taxation. It is imposed on goods and services at each stage of the supply chain, with each party paying the government the tax and passing the final cost onto the ultimate consumer.

The idea is that each party effectively only pays VAT on the value added to the product or service. This is because the party can recover the VAT on associated costs (of course, there are exceptions). One of the disadvantages is that it requires accurate accounting.

On the other hand, sales taxes are generally taxes placed on the sale or lease of goods and services.

Usually, the seller collects the tax from the purchaser at the point of sale. Sales tax is calculated by multiplying the purchase price by the applicable tax rate. The seller at a later stage transfers the tax to the responsible government agency.

How does VAT work between EU countries?

The EU VAT Directive 2006/112/EC establishes the rules for where VAT is due in the EU. Member States must implement these rules in a uniform way to avoid the possibility of double or no taxation.

How EU countries apply VAT

VAT in the EU happens when:

There’s a supply of goods – Where goods are not transported, the place of taxation is where the goods are made available to the customer. Where the goods are transported, the place of supply is where the transport starts (unless an exemption applies).

There’s a supply of services – For B2B transactions the place of taxation is generally where the customer has established their business. This applies to “intangible” services where the place of consumption cannot be determined easily.

There are certain where the place of consumption can be determined. These are:

A thing called intra-community acquisition of goods occurs – The place of taxation is the place where the transport ends (i.e., the EU country where the goods are finally located after transport from another EU country).

At the point goods are imported – The place of taxation is where goods imported from non-EU countries are generally taxed (i.e., in the EU country where they are cleared for free circulation).

Why EU countries use VAT

There are many reasons why an EU country uses VAT.

VAT can be adjusted up and down depending on how a country’s economy is performing quickly. This means a country can raise taxes quickly or support a certain sector by reducing VAT.

Once collected, the money can be spent on public services, infrastructure, healthcare and other important growth initiatives.

But wait, what about those pesky questions like “should I charge VAT to EU customers?” or “do I pay VAT if buying from Europe?”. We hear these all the time from customers who struggle with VAT rates across different EU countries.

Standard rates, reduced dates, special rates. What’s the difference?

And then you have super reduced rates and zero rates? Let’s not forget intermediary rates.

If your business is expected to charge VAT to EU customers, or you yourself are faced with paying VAT on a purchase when buying from Europe, it’s important you feel confident applying the right VAT rate each and every time.

Have a question about the many different types of VAT rates in the EU? Our tax experts are yet to receive a question that stumps them, and they will happily help unload you from this burden.

Ask them a question now.

Exempt goods and services

Sometimes companies don’t have to pay VAT. This happens when the goods or products they sell fall into an exempt category.

Some examples of exceptions include education and training, charity fundraising and insurance. Insurers instead pay a tax called (IPT).

A VAT exempt business cannot register for VAT, nor can it reclaim VAT. This is slightly different to zero-rated goods or services. In that case, VAT is charged, but at 0%. Some companies can be partly exempt too.

VAT exemptions differ country to country so it’s important to check a tax authority’s website to see whether your business needs to pay VAT. ? We love setting our clients free from their tax compliance burdens so they can focus on growing their business.

Read our comprehensive guide to VAT exempt goods and services in Europe

 

Frequently asked VAT questions:

Is VAT paid by seller or buyer?

The seller collects VAT from their buyer and pays to the relevant tax authority.

Learn more about buyer and seller VAT in our guide.

Does the buyer pay VAT?

Yes. A person or company buying a service or product pays the tax when the item is chargeable.

Do sellers pay VAT?

Sellers pay VAT on any items they purchase for their own business. The VAT they collect from their own customers is paid to HRMC. In some cases, sellers also need to self-account for the VAT due from their customers.

Who pays VAT, the buyer or seller in the UK?

VAT is 20% in the UK. A buyer pays this to the seller when they purchase an item, product or service. There are also some cases where the seller pays the VAT by way of a self-accounting mechanism.

What is the difference between sales tax and VAT?

Sales tax is found in the United States and is a tax applied at state government level on the purchase of goods or services. VAT is a consumption tax and is collected by all sellers in a supply chain, not just charged to the final consumer.

Our large advisory team can help you navigate the complexities of modern VAT compliance. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

Serbia is on the final straight to implementing its mandatory e-invoicing, which will come into effect from 1 January 2023. Legislative changes are still being proposed before that deadline to allow for a complete introduction of mandatory e-invoicing to the whole B2B sector.

On 12 December 2022, the Ministry of Finance published the following Laws on Amendments in the “Official Gazette of the RS” No. 138 among others:

1. Amendments to Serbia’s Electronic Invoicing Law

One of the changes regarding the scope of the Law on Electronic Invoicing involves natural persons who are not liable for income tax for self-employment, in the sense of the law governing personal income tax, who will be excluded from the provisions of the Law on E-Invoicing.

Regarding the type of transactions that will not be in the scope of e-invoicing, there will be no obligation to issue an electronic invoice for the sale of goods and services free of charge. Lastly, the legal entities and entrepreneurs who are not VAT payers, nor voluntary users of SEF, will not be obliged to record VAT calculation in SEF if they are tax debtors.

In case of a temporary interruption in the operation of the electronic invoice system, the system will consider an e-invoice as delivered at the time operation resumes. The act of the Ministry of Finance that regulates such procedures will be adopted on 1 April 2023 – three months from the date of entry into force of this law.

Also, the following paragraph will be added to Article 6 stating: “An electronic invoice that has been rejected can be subsequently accepted”. This provision will apply from 1 June 2023 for electronic invoices recorded in the central register of invoices, in accordance with the law regulating the deadlines for settling monetary obligations in commercial transactions.

The law will enter into force on 1 January 2023.

2. Amendments to Serbia’s VAT Law

The changes introduced to the law on VAT that impacts electronic invoicing processes stipulate that an invoice is an electronic invoice accepted by the buyer, as required by the Law on E-Invoicing.

The law ensures that the taxpayer accepting the electronic invoice within the deadline to submit the tax return may exercise the right to deduct the preliminary tax at the earliest date for the tax period where liability occurred. The taxpayer will also need to notify the tax authority about a change of data relevant to the calculation and payment of VAT contained in the registration form. The notification will be exclusively electronic and excludes notice in writing.

The law will enter into force on 1 January 2023, coinciding with the Serbian e-invoicing mandate go live date.

3. Amendments to Serbia’s Fiscalisation Law

The Law on Fiscalisation regulates, among other things, the subject of fiscalisation and the procedure conducted through an electronic fiscal device. The supply of goods and services, conducted by a fiscalization obligor to a legal entity or taxpayer of income from self-employment, outside the retail store, is not considered a retail supply. Therefore, such supply will not be subjected to fiscalization requirements and will not need to be recorded through an electronic fiscal device.

Moreover, the amendments specify that the fiscal receipt does not need to contain the value of the transaction per tax rate as a mandatory element. By scanning the QR code for verification, which has all the parts of an electronic signature when printing a fiscal invoice or a hyperlink for verification when a fiscal e-invoice is issued, it will be possible to receive additional information about the fiscal receipt.

The amendments to the Law on Fiscalisation that impact the future e-invoicing mandate cover changes related to the fiscal invoices issued to legal entities and taxpayers on income from self-employment. Transferring these fiscal invoices to the System of Electronic Invoices (SEF) will happen upon fulfilment of technical requirements. The Minister of Finance will further regulate the method and procedure of data transfer in the future.

Based on Article 7, a separate regulation will control the manner and procedure of data transfer to the SEF platform, that will be adopted within 180 days from the day when this Law enters into force. This means adoption will be in June 2023 at the earliest.

The Law on Amendments and Supplements to the Fiscalisation Act will be enforced on the 8th day following its publication, which took place on 12 December 2022.

Integration of the Fiscalisation system with SEF

The above amendments relate to the plans introduced by the MoF to integrate the Fiscalisation system with the E-Invoicing system (SEF), which will most likely start at the earliest in January 2024. As the Minister of Finance Vuk Delibašić announced on 1 December 2022: “The plan is to integrate the E-Invoicing system with the Customs Administration, e-fiscalization, as well as the creation of a semi-automatic VAT declaration, and an electronic excise tax is also being prepared.”

Need help?

Still have questions about e-invoicing in Serbia? Speak to our tax experts.

The European Commission’s  “VAT in the Digital Age” proposal brings significant modifications to the VAT treatment of the platform economy related to the operators in the short-term accommodation (max. of 45 days) and passenger transport services.

VAT treatment of the platform economy

It is worth mentioning that the ‘VAT treatment of the platform economy’ only relates to the supply of certain services via a platform. There are also a set of e-commerce rules related to the supply of goods via platforms.

The rise of the platform economy business model has triggered new challenges for the VAT system. As per the view of the EU Commission, one of these problems is VAT inequality that can be experienced if we look at:

We can better understand the EU view of the distortion of the competition if we look at the European Commission’s Impact Assessment report. The report outlines the growing importance of the platform economy in VAT collection and explains the studies conducted to ascertain where the EU Commission needs to take action.

In terms of numbers, the value of VAT revenue from the digital platform ecosystem is estimated at about EUR 25.7 billion per year for the Member States, i.e. 2.6 percent of total VAT revenue.

Scale of platform economy operation, by sectors (EU27, EUR billion, 2019)

 

Sector Revenue of digital platforms (EU27) Revenue of digital providers (EU27) Ecosystem Value (EU 27)
Accomodation 6.3 36.9 43.2
Transportation 7.2 31 38.2
E-commerce 16.6 93.8 110.4

Source: Extract from Commission Staff Working Document Impact Assessment Report, pag. 26

 

The total value of VAT revenue includes EUR 3.7 billion related to accommodation services and EUR 3.1 billion related to transportation services.

In these two sectors, private individuals and small businesses (i.e. underlying suppliers) can provide their VAT-free services (i.e. they do not account for any VAT) via a platform. With the economies of scale and network effect, these businesses can be in direct competition with traditional VAT-registered suppliers.

Taking into account the supporting study, the number of underlying suppliers who are not registered for VAT, can be up to 70%, depending on the type of platform.

For example, in the accommodation sector, over 50% of users of a particular accommodation platform specifically access the platform’s offering over a traditional hotel.  In Europe, the cost of accommodation offered via the accommodation platform can be, on average, some 8% to 17% cheaper than a regional hotel’s average daily rate.

In the view of the European Commission this means a distortion of competition between the same services offered via different channels.

The VAT treatment of the facilitation service

Clarifying the nature of services provided by the platform was the most supported intervention across different stakeholders.

In some Member States the treatment of the facilitation service charged by the platform is regarded as an electronically supplied service, whilst in others it is regarded as an intermediary service.

This is relevant because it can lead to different places of supply, which can lead to double or non-taxation. Therefore, clarification of these rules is necessary.

According to the proposal, the facilitation service (where the term “facilitation” extends to include short-term accommodation and passenger transport services) provided by a platform should be regarded as an intermediary service (Article 46a amending Directive 2006/112/EC). This allows for a uniform application of the place of supply rules for the facilitation service.

While this has no impact on the existing rules when the supply is carried out on a B2B basis, the same cannot be said about B2C supplies. Under this scenario, the place of supply will be where the underlying transactions takes place.

How will the VAT in the Digital Age proposal change the status quo?

According to the European Commission, the main issue with the platform economy is the inadequacy of the current VAT legal framework to ensure a level playing field with traditional businesses, specifically in the transport and accommodation sectors. Supplies made by small underlying suppliers via a platform are not taxed and the facilitation services made by platforms are taxed differently in different Member States. This leads to difficulties for the platforms, suppliers, and Member States.

Introducing a deemed supplier model will solve these issues, by which platforms will account for the VAT on the underlying supply where no VAT is charged by the supplier. This model ensures equal treatment between the digital and offline sectors of short-term accommodation rental and passenger transport.

In addition, clarifications will be given on the treatment of the facilitation service to allow for a uniform application of the place of supply rules, and steps will be taken to harmonise the transmission of information from the platform to the Member States.

In terms of timing, the proposed rules on the platform economy will take effect in 2025. This is a short period to put in place all needed changes to be compliant and it requires the platforms to begin looking into it as soon as possible.

Need support?

Get in touch about the benefits an expert VAT solution partner can offer to help ease your business’s VAT compliance burden.

Acquisition holds immediate benefit for customers with complex supply chains and footprints across Europe; furthers Sovos’ long-term global tax engine strategy

BOSTON – December 6, 2021 – Global tax software provider Sovos today announced it has acquired Germany-based TLI Consulting GmBH. The move significantly advances Sovos’ value-added tax (VAT) determination capabilities, with immediate benefits for businesses running SAP. VAT determination is one of three pillars of modern tax compliance, and often the first that multinational companies tackle before addressing digital reporting and complex continuous tax controls (CTCs), like e-invoicing. Sovos will leverage TLI Consulting’s software, consulting services and team to help customers Solve Tax for Good® with complete, continuous and connected solutions for every facet of the digital transformation of compliance.

Sovos is on a years’ long journey to build end-to-end offerings that help businesses infuse trust in every transaction. That journey has included the acquisition and development of global CTC, VAT reporting and SAF-T solutions, and a Sovos Connect Once API for a seamless customer experience across systems that need to comply with a wave of real-time and e-audit VAT mandates. TLI Consulting, Sovos’ ninth acquisition in the past 12 months, continues that journey with enhanced VAT determination for businesses with complex supply chains covering a broad jurisdictional landscape across Europe and beyond.

“Sovos has built the most complete suite of technology and services for frictionless compliance in digitizing economies, with advanced solutions for CTC, SAF-T, VAT reporting and other global requirements,” said Andy Hovancik, CEO, Sovos. “The acquisition of TLI Consulting continues that leadership with heightened capabilities for VAT determination, which is often the first piece of an increasingly complex puzzle companies must solve.”

TLI Consulting has served businesses whose transaction and tax determination needs are too complex or costly to configure and maintain via native SAP and in-house tax experts. The company’s software solution extends native SAP VAT determination functionality, and its consultants have the integration and implementation expertise to ensure that SAP ECC or SAP S/4 HANA enterprise resource planning systems can seamlessly determine the right VAT decisions and tax codes for any outbound or inbound transaction.

“Today’s announcement represents a key building block toward a Sovos tax determination portfolio that now helps customers meet modern indirect tax compliance challenges globally, including in Europe, the United States, Brazil and elsewhere,” said Steve Sprague, general manager, global value-added tax, Sovos. “Together, we’re creating the technology solutions that speed simpler tax determination for every transaction, in every jurisdiction, for every tax regime.”

Sovos’ acquisition of TLI Consulting has immediate potential for positive impact on customers in Germany and throughout Europe. In addition to the SAP software extensions upon which it has built its business, TLI Consulting’s expertise and experience will contribute to Sovos’ global tax engine strategy, which is to ensure any customer system can benefit from indirect tax determination, CTC and SAF-T support through a single integration.

“As we join Sovos, the TLI Consulting team gains the opportunity to help create the one-stop VAT solutions companies crave, while expanding our reach as part of a global technology leader. We look forward to this next phase and the positive impact it will have on our customers and future customers,” said Martin Grote, Sovos vice president of European VAT determination and former TLI Consulting director.

John Gledhill, vice president of corporate development for Sovos, said, “As a global organization with more than 2,300 employees, Sovos will scale TLI Consulting’s software and services business in support of the largest multinational companies with complex business transactions in Europe. With this acquisition, Sovos also establishes operations in Germany and now has employees in 14 countries.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sovos is owned by Hg, the London-based specialist private equity investor focused on software and service businesses, and TA Associates. EY served as financial advisor to Sovos, and Burness Paull and Luther provided legal counsel. Rödl & Partner advised TLI Consulting.

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About Sovos

Sovos was built to solve the complexities of the digital transformation of tax, with complete, connected offerings for tax determination, continuous transaction controls, tax reporting and more. Sovos customers include half the Fortune 500, as well as businesses of every size operating in more than 70 countries. The company’s SaaS products and proprietary Sovos S1 Platform integrate with a wide variety of business applications and government compliance processes. Sovos has employees throughout the Americas and Europe, and is owned by Hg and TA Associates. For more information visit www.sovos.com/en-gb/ and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About TLI Consulting

TLI Consulting offers VAT determination software and associated consulting to support clients in entering VAT processes into their SAP (and other ERP) systems through developing and implementing customized, practical and compliant solutions for accounts receivable and accounts payable processes. Further, TLI Consulting offers SAP solutions for VAT ID validations and VAT reconciliations and analysis.

Sovos Partner Network drives digital transformation of tax compliance for customers while offering significant profit potential and borderless growth to partners  

BOSTON – October 6, 2022 – Global tax software provider Sovos today announced the launch of its new Sovos Partner Network designed to guide partners in addressing the critical needs of their customers as they navigate the complexity of digital compliance and changing tax regulations around the world. With access to Sovos’ complete portfolio of compliance solutions, along with its unmatched regulatory and tax expertise, this new program enables partners to bolster their tax compliance offerings and expand their business opportunities.

“Government authorities have gone increasingly digital with the calculation, reporting and compliance of taxes and Sovos continues to invest heavily in tax technology solutions.  Collaborating with Sovos allows KPMG to bring both its leading technology and tax and implementation experience to clients,” said Niren Saldanha, Partner, Tax, KPMG LLP.

The Sovos Partner Network was built to align to our partners’ business models, whether they resell, co-sell, implement or embed Sovos solutions. Competitive incentives and other business-related program benefits were designed to assist partners in expanding their businesses in ways that best fit their go-to-market strategies. The modern program includes a rich array of consistent and accessible tools, training and a self-service partner portal. Industry leaders such as Oracle, NetSuite, SAP and KPMG have already partnered with Sovos to increase customer support, in addition to hundreds of other partners across the globe, both large and small. Collectively, these partners share Sovos’ core mission to Solve Tax for Good®.

Sovos’ global commitment to partners extends to Latin America. “EY Brazil brings tax transformation and automation to its clients by leveraging process and tax automation software in the market, such as Sovos Taxrules,” says Giovanni Schiavone, Tax Transformation Partner at EY Brazil. “We conduct ‘Tax Transformation Projects’ that evaluate our clients’ GAPs and then suggest automations using the most advanced features of solutions like Sovos to help create a high-performance tax area, aligned with current and future Brazilian compliance needs.”

Why partner with Sovos?

The Sovos Partner Network offers many ways to create mutually beneficial opportunities, including:

“Strong partner relationships are a key component of our strategic business approach. This new global program represents the next step in our ability to support the evolving needs of customers in today’s global tax and compliance marketplace,” said Jonathan Eisner, vice president, global alliances and chief channel officer, Sovos. “Investing in a stronger ecosystem that better supports and rewards our partners is a critical part in solving these dynamic challenges.”

To learn more about the Sovos Partner Network or apply to become a partner, click here.

About Sovos 

Sovos was built to solve the complexities of the digital transformation of tax, with complete, connected offerings for tax determination, continuous transaction controls, tax reporting and more. Sovos customers include half the Fortune 500, as well as businesses of every size operating in more than 70 countries. The company’s SaaS products and proprietary Sovos S1 Platform integrate with a wide variety of business applications and government compliance processes. Sovos has employees throughout the Americas and Europe and is owned by Hg and TA Associates. For more information visit www.sovos.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The European Commission has announced its long-awaited proposal for legislative changes in relation to the VAT in the Digital Age (ViDA) initiative. This is one of the most important developments in the history of European VAT, and affects not only European businesses, but also non-EU companies whose businesses trade with the EU.

The proposal requires amending the VAT Directive 2006/112, its Implementing Regulation 282/2011, and Regulation 904/2010 on Administrative Cooperation on the combat of fraud in the field of VAT. They cover three distinct areas:

  1. VAT digital reporting obligations and e-invoicing
  2. VAT treatment of the platform economy
  3. Single EU VAT registration

This regulatory change proposal will still need formal adoption by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament under ordinary legislative procedures before it can come into force. In tax matters such as these, the process requires unanimity among all Member States.

This blog focuses on VAT digital reporting obligations and e-invoicing, whereas future updates from Sovos will address the other two areas.

VAT digital reporting obligations and e-invoicing – an overview

Intra-EU B2B transaction data will need reporting to a central database:

Digital reporting requirements for domestic transactions will remain optional:

Changes will be made to facilitate and align e-invoicing:

“Transmission” will not be regulated:

The European Commission has, at this stage, chosen not to propose regulation regarding the transmission channel of the reported data to the tax authorities. This is currently left to Member States to decide on.

The reason for this decision is likely because it’s a technical issue, and that the discussion would have slowed down the process of publishing this proposal. The European Commission also appears ambiguous about whether it would want to regulate this in the future.

What does the future of VAT in the Digital Age look like?

Many countries primed to introduce continuous transaction controls (CTCs) have been waiting for EU regulators to provide an answer to what rules the individual Member State will need to abide by. It remains to be seen whether this proposal will embolden these Member States to move ahead with plans, despite the non-final status of the proposal. It’s noteworthy that Germany filed for a derogation from the current VAT Directive to be able to mandate e-invoicing just a few days before the original date that the Commission had planned to publish this proposal – 16 November 2022.

Speak to our tax experts to understand how these proposed changes will affect your company.

VAT Digitization in Eastern Europe


A Quick Guide to E-invoicing and Real-Time Reporting Tax regulations in Eastern European countries are complex but that shouldn’t be a reason not to do business there. If you’re responsible for VAT compliance, this ebook provides key details of the varying VAT digitisation mandates and business requirements across the region:
  • Understand how to comply with the e-invoicing and reporting in Eastern Europe
  • Deep dives into Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia
  • Must-read for tax professionals and consultants

A Quick Guide to E-invoicing and Real-Time Reporting

Tax regulations in Eastern European countries are complex but that shouldn’t be a reason not to do business there. If you’re responsible for VAT compliance, this ebook provides key details of the varying VAT digitisation mandates and business requirements across the region:

  • Understand how to comply with the e-invoicing and reporting in Eastern Europe
  • Deep dives into Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia
  • Must-read for tax professionals and consultants

Get the ebook

Who should read this ebook?

Tax professional

  • Need to be up to date with Eastern European regulations
  • Understand system requirements for real-time reporting and e-invoicing
  • Prepare and future-proof for upcoming tax digitization

Consultancy

  • Ensure best practices for clients
  • Keep up to date with latest regulations and developments
  • Confidently navigate the tax landscape to help clients with planning

Written by tax experts and regulatory specialists

Tax administrations continue to insert themselves into the invoicing process or demand detailed records within a matter of hours or days of transactions. Many have introduced continuous transaction controls (CTCs)and are seeing the benefits of closing their country’s VAT gap and gaining granular, real-time or near real-time insight. Eastern Europe is part of this trend, moving forward rapidly with real-time reporting and e-invoicing initiatives.

The challenge of VAT digitization in Eastern Europe

Each Eastern European country has a different approach to CTCs. These differences could extend further as mandates evolve and businesses have to deal with new filing formats like SAF-T and real-time reporting to stay tax compliant. Understanding the varying demands of VAT compliance is key for any business operating in or looking to expand into the region. With this guide you’ll gain a greater understanding of the requirements across the region. Our deep dive into key countries will help you comply with VAT regulations now and prepare for upcoming mandates.

Take a look at what's inside:

Regional tax knowledge

Detailed country guide

How to expand with confidence

What this guide to Eastern Europe e-invoicing and reporting compliance covers

Get our guide for a comprehensive picture of CTCs in Eastern Europe and the many requirements that vary country to country. This includes invoice format, connectivity, data requirements, how to submit, archiving, legacy systems, technologies and business processes-all of which need to be reconsidered and rewired to be compliant. We also conduct extensive reviews of key Eastern European economies as well as uncover what’s on the horizon in one of the most important countries in the region, Slovakia:

  • Continuous transactions controls –what are they?
  • Common clearance system features
  • Clearance regimes
  • Stay compliant with evolving CTC regulations
  • A close look at e-invoicing in the region
  • Romania
  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Compliance in Eastern Europe
  • How Sovos can help

The CTC landscape in Eastern Europe is constantly evolving, with countries at different stages of their journeys.

The Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia and Montenegro all currently allow post-audit invoicing.

Countries that have already implemented CTC regimes (either e-reporting or e-invoicing) where paper invoicing is still possible include Hungary, Albania and Greece.

In some cases, such as in Slovenia and Bulgaria, there are CTC schemes planned but details have yet to be specified.

Others have outlined their specifications and implemented voluntary schemes. Our guide covers some of these countries, providing details about the scope, document flows, key requirements and timelines of their regimes.

Romania –A sneak peak

There are three requirements for taxpayers in Romania:

  1. Mandatory e-invoicing for B2G transactions
  2. Mandatory e-invoicing for high-risk products
  3. Electronic transport mandate

Taxpayers are required to use the Romania e-transport system to issue an e-transport document regarding the transport of high fiscal risk products before transportation of goods begins. This includes data regarding the sender, recipient, goods, places of loading and unloading and details of the means of transport and carrier.

Sovos provides a cost-effective, secure, global solution capable of withstanding disruption prompted by the worldwide CTC trend.

Our unique cloud solutions keep you compliant in 60+ countries and our tax experts ensure your business complies with the latest regulations and their requirements.

Market-leading 40+ year history in global regulatory monitoring and analysis

One vendor, one technical interface

Embedded in 60+ partners (SAP, Ariba, Coupa, IBM and more)

Simple API for plug-and-play interoperability

Evolves with your technology and process choices

Sovos’ VAT Compliance Solution Suite includes both CTC reporting and CTC e-invoicing as integral components of a fully scalable solution suite and includes Sovos Periodic Reporting, SAF-T and Sovos eArchive.

Part V of V – Christiaan Van Der Valk, vice president, strategy and regulatory, Sovos 

Click here to read part IV of the series.  

Government-mandated e-invoicing laws are making their way across nearly every region of the globe, bringing more stringent mandates and expectations on businesses. Inserted into every aspect of your operation, governments are now an omni-present influence in your data stack reviewing every transaction in real time as it traverses your network. Real-time monitoring has also brought about real-time enforcement that can range in severity from significant fines to shutting your business down completely. All of this has created a new reality for IT leaders who need a strategy to deal with these global changes. We asked our vice president of strategy and regulatory, Christiaan Van Der Valk to offer his guidance on how this will affect IT departments and how they can best prepare.

Q: With government authorities now in companies’ data and demanding real or near real-time reporting, what impact will this have on IT departments? 

Christiaan Van Der Valk: The digitization of VAT and other taxes considerably expands the scope of the finance and transactional systems that need to meet specific – and ever-changing – government requirements. This phenomenon of broadening and decentralizing tax compliance in a company’s system and process landscape happens at the same time that more of these applications (for accounts payable automation, EDI, procurement, supply chain automation, travel and expense management, order-to-cash, customer communications management etc.) are used on a SaaS basis in multitenant mode.

This requires you to take stock of the applications that may come within the scope of VAT requirements in all relevant jurisdictions, and to review vendor contracts to ensure clarity as to responsibility for compliance. Procurement practices to license such external applications may also need to be reviewed to ensure proper contracting around tax compliance from the start.

Q: To meet government mandates and ensure operations continue uninterrupted, what should IT prioritize? What approach would you recommend? 

Christiaan Van Der Valk: A key success factor is the degree to which IT and tax can team up to affect change in the organization. The default response to indirect tax changes will be to view these as evolutionary and best resolved by local subsidiaries. The introduction of CTCs, however, is a paradigm shift and one of the consequences is that solving these challenges in a decentralized manner can be harmful to a company’s digital transformation potential. IT and tax need to work closely together to raise awareness among all corporate and country stakeholders on the importance of a coordinated, strategic response to this profound change. The role of tax technologists who specialize in these interdisciplinary challenges cannot be underestimated.

A lot has changed in the world of government mandated e-invoicing. Continued investment in technology by government authorities has put regulators in the position to demand greater transparency along with more detailed and real-time reporting. To meet these demands, companies are looking to their IT organizations. The good news is you don’t need to go it alone. Sovos has the expertise to guide you through this global evolution based on our experience working with many of the world’s leading brands.

Take Action

Need help keeping up with global mandates? Get in touch with Sovos’ team of tax experts.

Part IV of V – Ryan Ostilly, vice president of product and GTM strategy EMEA & APAC, Sovos

Click here to read part III of the series.  

Government-mandated e-invoicing laws are making their way across nearly every region of the globe, bringing more stringent mandates and expectations on businesses. Inserted into every aspect of your operation, governments are now an omni-present influence in your data stack reviewing every transaction in real time as it traverses your network. Real-time monitoring has also brought about real-time enforcement that can range in severity from significant fines to shutting your business down completely. All of this has created a new reality for IT leaders who need a strategy to deal with these global changes. We asked our vice president of product and GTM strategy, Ryan Ostilly to offer his guidance on how this will affect IT departments and how they can best prepare.

Q: With government authorities now in companies’ data and demanding real or near real-time reporting, what impact will this have on IT departments? 

Ryan Ostilly: IT teams will have to work hard to ensure their core finance and transactional tax systems have the enhanced capability to extract, transform, remit and consume real-time data with all tax jurisdictions across their global footprint, in compliance with an ever-changing myriad of legal and procedural requirements. With the pace of disruption accelerating, governments are rewriting the rules on taxpayer control and engagement, forcing direct connection and intimacy with the data itself.

I fear that in a growing number of cases, the owners of the data may be functional departments. The IT department will need to evolve its role in this relationship, viewing the government as a critical business partner – one with whom they must always be connected, continuous and complete.

Q: To meet government mandates and ensure operations continue uninterrupted, what should IT prioritize? What approach would you recommend?  

Ryan Ostilly: In this modern era of government-initiated tax transformation, the successful IT department will pursue a proactive strategy that prioritizes a connected, continuous and complete framework for government mandates and Continuous Transaction Controls (CTCs). These three principles are:

Connected – Architect a simplified integration and vendor strategy. Reduce exposure to multiple integrations and heavy projects when adopting new jurisdictions or implementing changes.

Continuous – Partner with regulatory and legal experts on a regular basis. Review upcoming mandates and assess the impact on your current and future business requirements.

Complete – Think beyond technical aspects and schemas. Partner with tax subject matter experts when translating and validating mandate requirements, as these outputs will define the financial and tax position of your company with the tax authorities in real time.

A lot has changed in the world of government mandated e-invoicing. Continued investment in technology by government authorities has put regulators in the position to demand greater transparency along with more detailed and real-time reporting. To meet these demands, companies are looking to their IT organizations. The good news is you don’t need to go it alone. Sovos has the expertise to guide you through this global evolution based on our experience working with many of the world’s leading brands.

Take Action

Need help keeping up with global mandates? Get in touch with Sovos’ team of tax experts.

Update: 3 November 2022 by Russell Hughes

Making Tax Digital – Filing VAT Returns through Online VAT Account to become redundant

From Tuesday 1 November 2022, businesses filing VAT returns in the UK will no longer be able to submit via an existing online VAT account unless HMRC has agreed to an exemption from Making Tax Digital (MTD). Businesses that file annual VAT returns will still be able to use their VAT online account until 15 May 2023.

By law, all VAT-registered businesses must now sign up to Making Tax Digital and use compatible software for keeping VAT records and filing returns. HMRC has advised that from January 2023, any VAT registered businesses that fail to sign up for MTD and file returns through MTD-compatible software will incur .

Making Tax Digital’s aim is to help businesses get tax right first time by reducing errors, making it easier for them to manage their tax affairs by going digital, and consequently helping them to grow. More than 1.8 million businesses are already benefitting from the service, and more than 19 million returns have been successfully submitted through Making Tax Digital compatible software so far.

How to sign up to Making Tax Digital

If a business hasn’t already signed up to Making Tax Digital or started using compatible software, they must follow these steps now:

Small businesses

If your turnover is under the VAT threshold of £85,000 and you haven’t signed up to Making Tax Digital in time to file your next return by 7 November 2022, you can still use your existing VAT online account for that return only.

New businesses

New businesses not yet registered for VAT will be automatically signed up for Making Tax Digital while registering for VAT through HMRC’s new VAT Registration Service (VRS).  Registering on the VRS provides a quicker VAT registration and improved security. It also helps new businesses fully comply with MTD requirements from day one, subject to using the correct software.

Still have questions about Making Tax Digital compliance? Speak to our tax experts.

Update: 17 March 2022 by Andrew Decker

Making Tax Digital for VAT – Expansion

Beginning in April 2022, the requirements for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT will be expanded to all VAT registered businesses. MTD for VAT has been mandatory for all companies with annual turnover above the VAT registration threshold of £85,000 since April 2019. As a result, this year’s expansion is expected to impact smaller businesses whose turnover is below the threshold but who are nonetheless registered for UK VAT.

 

Update: 3 March 2021 by Andrew Decker

UK’s Making Tax Digital – 1 April Brings End to Soft Landing Period

Since April 2019, the UK has required the submission of VAT returns and the storage of VAT records to be completed in accordance with the requirements of its Making Tax Digital (MTD) regulations.

One of these requirements is that data transfer between software programs be achieved through ‘digital links.’ This requirement was initially waived during a ’soft landing’ period which is set to expire on 1 April 2021. As a result, to remain complaint with MTD requirements, businesses must ensure they can meet the digital link requirement.

What are the basic requirements of MTD?

Under MTD, businesses must digitally file VAT returns using ‘functional compatible software’ which can connect to HMRC’s API. Additionally, businesses must use software to keep digital records of specified VAT related documents.

What is a digital link and when is it required?

A digital link is required whenever a business is using multiple pieces of software to store and transmit its VAT records and returns pursuant to MTD requirements. For example, if a business stores its VAT records in its accounting program but then submits its VAT return using an approved piece of bridging software, the data must be transferred between the accounting and bridging software via a digital link.

A digital link occurs when a transfer or exchange of data is made, or can be made, electronically between software programs, products or applications without the need for or involvement of any manual intervention.

The key to this requirement is that once data has been entered into a business’s software there shouldn’t be any manual intervention in transferring it to another program. This means that data cannot be manually transcribed from one program into another. Additionally, using a ‘cut and paste’ feature to transfer data doesn’t constitute a digital link.

For example, manually typing or copying information from one spreadsheet into another doesn’t count as a digital link but connecting the two spreadsheets using a linking formula does.

Additional examples of digital links include:

The digital links requirement will apply to all businesses subject to MTD rules, however businesses that fulfill certain requirements can request an extension to delay the requirement.

For more information on MTD, including details on extension requests and criteria see VAT Notice 700/22: Making Tax Digital for VAT on HMRC’s website.

Important dates to remember regarding MTD for VAT

1 April 2019 –Business with annual turnover of £85,000 and over became liable to follow Making Tax Digital rule for VAT

1 April 2021 –Digital links requirement will be enforced

1 April 2022 – Taxpayers with turnover under £85,000 will be required to comply with making tax digital (MTD)

Need help with Making Tax Digital (MTD)?

Sovos’ Advanced Periodic Reporting technology is fully compliant with Making Tax Digital, including digital link.

Part III of V – Eric Lefebvre, chief technology officer, Sovos 

Click here to read part II of the series.

Government-mandated e-invoicing laws are making their way across nearly every region of the globe, bringing more stringent mandates and expectations on businesses. Inserted into every aspect of your operation, governments are now an omni-present influence in your data stack reviewing every transaction in real time as it traverses your network. Real-time monitoring has also brought about real-time enforcement that can range in severity from significant fines to shutting your business down completely. All of this has created a new reality for IT leaders who need a strategy to deal with these global changes. We asked our chief technology officer, Eric Lefebvre to offer his guidance on how this will affect IT departments and how they can best prepare.

Q: With government authorities now in companies’ data and demanding real or near real-time reporting, what impact will this have on IT departments? 

Eric Lefebvre: Centralization is the key, but there is a process that needs to be followed to execute correctly. At the outset, centralization needs to start with business processes, practices, tools and standardization on data push/pull technologies across the organization. Next, IT needs to consider data based on SLA-based needs. Starting with:

Delivery Data:

Once this has been solidified, IT can then focus on operational data, which contains:

IT departments need to focus on availability of data by adding multiple replicated sources of that data. Location of data is another critical need driven by mandates mostly shifting to keeping data local, as we are seeing in countries such as Saudi Arabia and many other East Asian nations. IT departments need to ensure that satellite data stores can be provided, which are critical to countries with those specifications. Centralization of processes and tools for delivery of data is step one. For step two, data needs to be split, moving away from storing data for years in a single data store, making it impossible to move/replicate and make it available.

Q: To meet government mandates and ensure operations continue uninterrupted, what should IT prioritize? What approach would you recommend?  

Eric Lefebvre: As organizations make the move to a centralized approach, they need to be aware that the blast radius of “failure” affects more than a single country. To combat this, IT organizations need to have strong procedures and plans in place that help to both avoid these situations and quickly limit the damage if a problem does occur. I view it as three distinct focus areas:

Change control procedures. Strengthen impact controls not just for code changes or operational updates, but also include regulatory changes and configuration changes.
Testing procedures. Step away from just regional scope testing and incorporate global end-to-end synthetic testing, starting from the edge service to all the backend servers and back.
Incident management. Pivot from backend monitoring to a central monitoring and outage single pane view, supported by a global operations center in a follow the sun style model.

A lot has changed in the world of government mandated e-invoicing. Continued investment in technology by government authorities has put regulators in the position to demand greater transparency along with more detailed and real-time reporting. To meet these demands, companies are looking to their IT organizations. The good news is you don’t need to go it alone. Sovos has the expertise to guide you through this global evolution based on our experience working with many of the world’s leading brands.

It might not quite be THAT red phone that’s ringing, but rest assured, management is currently dealing with a serious problem, and they are looking at IT to solve it for them.

There are two things that make Boards and C-Suites nervous beyond all else. Risks that have the potential to impact the bottom line and company/brand reputation. This current issue can do both and fast if not dealt with timely.

I’m talking about government tax mandates.

Now you may ask, haven’t government mandates been around for decades? Why the urgency now? Yes, they have been around for a long time, but they have never existed in their current form or had the ability to impact your operations so quickly.

Allow me to explain. In the past, organizations around the world were required to report on transactions after the fact and pay the amounts they were legally obligated to pay. If they didn’t, the government might get around to auditing them a few months or years down the road and assess a penalty if things were found to be out of order. In the grand scheme of things, it was a minor inconvenience for businesses and not a real deterrent for having faulty processes or negligence.

That all began to change a few years back when governments began looking at a tax gap that was growing with no easy solutions to reign it in. Think I’m exaggerating? According to the 2021 report on the VAT Gap issues by the European Commission, in 2019 alone EU countries lost out on €134 billion in Value-Added Tax (VAT) revenues legally owed to them by businesses.

This was a wake-up call to every country that employs the VAT system of taxation anywhere in the world. Not only were they losing out on much needed revenues, but the problem was growing worse. Something needed to be done and done fast or they wouldn’t be able to fund vital programs in their countries.

Fast forward to today. Countries have taken a serious look at the problem and have decided that technology is the answer. They have invested heavily in digitization and have brought their capabilities not only up to par with business, but in many cases, probably for the first time in history, have surpassed the capabilities of private industry to monitor and report on financial transactions.

Today, there is no more reporting after the fact. Governments have set up shop right in your data stack and are reviewing transactions in real-time. And with real-time monitoring has come real-time enforcement. If you are not reporting the information the way the government has mandated, you can expect swift action ranging from expensive fines right up to the revocation of your business license in that country. Both would be devastating shots to your company’s financial outlook and reputation.

This is why there is so much urgency to get IT on board and have a strategy to address the issue on a global basis. Things are only going to get more complicated and the ability to scale systems to meet changing tax mandates in all places you do business has become a top priority for companies.

It’s a new world out there as far as VAT is concerned and this is a lot to come to terms with. If this is new information to you or you are in the process of coming to terms with how it impacts your organization, I’d encourage you to remember and share the following five things with your colleagues:

1. The government is in your data

Real time tax reporting is becoming the new norm for businesses worldwide. Governments are no longer satisfied with receiving data after the fact and are now requiring a permanent presence in your data stack.

2. Government data mandates are taking control away from companies  

With government mandated e-invoicing taking the world by storm, businesses are left with little time to prepare for this shift. To remain operational and comply with these mandates, IT must create a strategy to ensure that they are meeting mandate obligations while keeping with the parameters of long-term plans and budgets.

3. Data mandates are moving and evolving quickly  

As governments are rapidly moving towards mandated e-invoicing implementation, organizations are now faced with an extremely short window to update their tax codes and mandates. For IT departments, overseeing and executing these changes will become one of their top priorities.

4. Data mandates lack consistency from country to country  

For international organizations staying up to date on new processes, technologies and regulations are all essential components to running a successful business. However, the different approaches being adopted by each individual regulatory authority are causing a lot of uncertainty for businesses. The challenge for IT is to create the infrastructure that allows the business to meet the individual mandates of each country’s regulatory authority, while also integrating with one another to provide a real time global dashboard of the organization’s compliance status.

5. Governments have increased the severity and speed of enforcement

Tax authorities are becoming more aggressive than ever to close tax gaps. With the use of digital tools and processes, governments can quickly expedite compliance and track tax fraud effectively. In today’s digital world, penalties can be swifter and more severe than in the past. IT needs to ensure that transaction data is presented to regulatory authorities in the format and time frame they demand.

I’m hopeful this information will give you some things to think about as you work through the changing realities of global tax mandates.

Take Action

After reading this, if you have questions, feel free to reach out to our experts.

Invoicing in Chile is changing on 1 December 2022. This is when resolution 66 from the Chile Internal Revenue Service comes into force.

This new regulation concerns organisations with foreign currency operations. Banks, stockbrokers, exchange houses and financial institutions are affected. Other intermediaries or entities that carry out foreign currency purchase and sale operations themselves or on behalf of third parties are also included.

All these organisations must issue the following:

How is invoicing in Chile changing?

Every electronic tax document must consider the specifications described by “Electronic Tax Document Format”. This document is available on the Internal Revenue Service’s website and is regularly updated.

What electronic information is required in Chile?

Resolution 66 also contains technical instructions. These establish the details necessary for electronic tax documents that support foreign currency purchase and sale operations.

The resolution states the following must be included:

There are other requirements not listed above, so it’s important to check the guidelines.

This change allows the Internal Revenue Service to receive, validate, and process electronic tax documents. This ensures the operations are accurately reflected and prevents inconsistencies.

More on rights, commissions and other charges in Chile

In the case of commissions, the taxpayer must issue an invoice or electronic ticket containing all the information indicated by the Technical Annex.

If the document doesn’t include an affected item, consider the following:

An example is when there is no commission.

Likewise, when differences in collections and values are ​​subject to VAT, an electronic credit or debit note must be issued.

The following information must be recorded separately as well:

  1. The total value of the instruments traded
  2. Value of commissions and charges, if any
  3. Total to be paid in favour of the client or total to be paid in favour of the company

Need help for invoicing in Chile?

Are you in financial services or working at a bank with more questions about invoicing in Chile? Speak to our tax experts.

A recent preliminary ruling request to the European Court of Justice, Case C-664/21, NEC PLUS ULTRA COSMETICS, has re-emphasised the importance of collecting documentation when carrying out a zero-rated supply in the EU. The 2017 NEC PLUS ULTRA COSMETICS case involved a company established in Switzerland selling cosmetics products under the Ex Works clause from their warehouse in Slovenia to business customers established in Romania and Croatia. Ex Works (EXW) is an Incoterms rule, a set of definitions outlining the responsibilities of buyers and sellers in international transactions. With Ex Works the transport obligations, costs and risks are the buyer’s responsibility.

The tax administration of the Republic of Slovenia inspected NEC PLUS ULTRA COSMETICS and requested evidence and supporting documentation relating to these supplies to verify that goods had been transported to another EU Member State.

NEC PLUS ULTRA COSMETICS provided copies of the invoices and of the ‘Convention relative au contrat de transport international de marchansises par route’ (CMR) consignment notes. The company failed to provide the evidence requested by tax officers to prove the right to tax exempt the supplies to their customers (delivery notes and other documents mentioned in the CMRs).

The company clarified that the reason for the late submission was that the Hamburg office responsible for supplies to Croatia ceased its activities in August 2018, making it more difficult to find the documents asked for by the tax officers.

Consequently, the Slovenian tax authorities provided the company with an additional VAT assessment notice and ordered it to pay the relevant amount.

What documents do you need to keep for supplies carried out after 2020?

In the implementation of the Quick Fix related to the proof of transport in 2020, the European Commission has clarified that where the supplier arranges transportation of the goods, it must be in possession of either:

List A

List B

If the acquirer is responsible for transport of goods (i.e. under the Ex Works clause), they must provide the vendor with a written statement by the 10th of the month following the date of supply that the goods have been transported by the acquirer or on the acquirer’s behalf. The written statement must include the following:

How to ensure VAT compliance

In the case of the Ex Works clause:

If you don’t feel reassured by your customer, change the agreement and Incoterms clause before the supply takes place.

Need help with VAT compliance?

Still have questions about VAT exempt supplies and the Incoterms Ex Works clause? Speak to our tax experts.

Part II of V – Oscar Caicedo, Vice president of product management for VAT Americas, Sovos

Click here to read part I of the series. 

Government-mandated e-invoicing laws are making their way across nearly every region of the globe, bringing more stringent mandates and expectations on businesses. Inserted into every aspect of your operation, governments are now an omni-present influence in your data stack reviewing every transaction in real time as it traverses your network. Real-time monitoring has also brought about real-time enforcement that can range in severity from significant fines to shutting your business down completely. All of this has created a new reality for IT leaders who need a strategy to deal with these global changes. We asked our vice president of product management for VAT, Oscar Caicedo to offer his guidance on how this will affect IT departments and how they can best prepare. 

Q: With government authorities now in companies’ data and demanding real or near real-time reporting, what impact will this have on IT departments? 

Oscar Caicedo: For me, this breaks down into four distinct categories: 

1. Business Process Architecture – As regulatory entities become more advanced, it is important to look at the overall functional business process, not only the technical mechanism to report. Many business processes were solidified much before current capabilities were readily available. It is important to revisit the business process to be able to determine the best technical path forward.

2. Source of Truth – With the complex environment IT departments must navigate, you need to redefine the expectations of data/process source of truth. Back-end system ecosystems were not built with current compliance/regulatory needs in mind. In mature markets, where governments continue to advance technical capabilities, it is critical to have a clear strategy to protect against source-of-truth risks. Otherwise, local regulatory entities tend to become the ultimate source of truth.

3. Data Aggregation/Reconciliation – A lack of clarity on the source of truth for each functional business process can lead to major risks. Registering data in real time with local regulators was the initial challenge. The current challenge is ensuring all systems involved are maintained in sync and are always fully harmonized. IT departments must recognize it is now a must-have to navigate the current environment.

4. Master Data – Data in back-end systems was already complicated enough to support in a centralized manner. Once real-time regulatory needs were introduced, the data issue got exponentially larger. Data structures, data libraries and extraction programs are all attempts to solve the problem, but normally these attempts fail due to gaps in understanding what is mandatory vs. optional. Clear guidance on the local needs is critical before deciding on a technical strategy.

Q: To meet government mandates and ensure operations continue uninterrupted, what should IT prioritize? What approach would you recommend?  

Oscar Caicedo: I would prioritize a clear regulatory understanding of the markets/geographies in which you operate. This seems obvious, but it is not always the case. Ninety-nine percent of the time when I speak with a large multinational organization, they are not clear on the needs of the local market. Efforts to centralize or take a cohesive approach fail because key IT decision makers didn’t understand the regulation.

In addition, you need to focus on business processes and the data requirements to make them successful and solve the problem end to end. The challenge does not end with registering data. The problem ends when you have the proper visibility, maintenance, support, reconciliation and intelligence to be fully prepared.

Don’t take chances. The regulatory environment is very dynamic, so it is important to ensure the proper testing of all business scenarios needed to operate. Failure to have clear testing scripts can lead to surprises in production environments, which can carry large implications for the operation.

Finally, consolidate as much as possible. This means simplifying end points, communication protocols, data structures, etc. This will allow for a more efficient way to manage the mandated processes in the different jurisdictions.

A lot has changed in the world of government mandated e-invoicing. Continued investment in technology by government authorities has put regulators in the position to demand greater transparency along with more detailed and real-time reporting. To meet these demands, companies are looking to their IT organizations. The good news is you don’t need to go it alone. Sovos has the expertise to guide you through this global evolution based on our experience working with many of the world’s leading brands.

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Imagine this scenario.

Your business partner changes the rules on you mid-stream and your ability to conduct business with them is now contingent on changing your entire reporting structure to meet their new demands.

Oh yeah, I should also mention the time frame to meet these demands is extremely tight and if you don’t, you can forget about doing business in their region until you get it right. And if at any point moving forward you fail to live up to these standards, they can fine you or shut you down.

Sound farfetched? It isn’t. It’s exactly what is playing out in major economic markets from Brazil to Italy and parts of Asia and Africa. You see, governments have caught up to businesses when it comes to technology, and in many ways, they have moved past them when it comes to digitization.

What does this mean for you?

It means that governments have now taken on a more proactive approach to reviewing financial transactions and are demanding real-time reporting. As part of that, they have implemented real-time enforcement to ensure that it’s meeting the proper mandated specifications. To accomplish this, they have taken up permanent residence within your data stack. And make no mistake, when it comes to e-invoicing, they are calling the shots.

A bit of background.

Governments throughout the world are implementing mandated e-invoicing for its ability to facilitate compliance and track fraud quickly and efficiently. After the fact reporting, which had been the norm until now, was more difficult to enforce and took lengthy and costly audits to recoup what was rightfully owed. Many organizations didn’t take the penalties seriously and would simply set aside some money to deal with these inconveniences as they emerged.

This approach resulted in a tax gap that is continuing to grow. In 2019, the VAT gap of the European Union’s 28 member states was over 134.4 billion euros for all member states combined. This had become unsustainable and unacceptable to many governments and thus a new technology that focused on digitization was made to ensure that all legally owed revenue was being collected timely and in full. Failure to comply would lead to faster and more impactful enforcement measures.

This trend is growing rapidly with countries across the globe adopting new mandates and methodologies for tracking and enforcing the rules. In the next five years nearly every country that employs the VAT system of taxation is expected to update their systems to some degree.

Make no mistake. Due to the demands for real-time information, this is an IT problem, not a tax issue. For multinational companies that do business in dozens of countries, there could be some painful moments along the way if they don’t plan early and develop a sound strategy for each of the locations in which they have operations.

Here is my advice for meeting government mandates and ensuring operations continue uninterrupted. 

IT should focus on the end goal: implementing a centralized approach to managing these government mandated e-invoicing laws to ensure a globally consistent approach to all digital filings. I can’t overstate the importance of implementation synergies as requirements increase and expand. This is only going to get more complex as time goes on.

And perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is complicated stuff that is changing by the day. This is not the time or the issue to try going it on your own.

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