Richard Cornelisse

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The next SAF-T wave

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 29/01/2018 at 12:33 pm

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The following countries might be in the next wave: Germany, UK, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

The Netherlands and Belgium are experimenting with another electronic format called “Transaction Network Analysis”, TNA is an overall European Commission initiative and 8 other countries have already joined.

Read more: Norway SAF-T delayed to 2020 and other SAF-T initiatives

Norway SAF-T delayed to 2020

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 29/01/2018 at 11:39 am

Norway has announced to introduce an on-demand mandatory Standard Audit File for Tax (‘SAF-T’) requirement for taxpayers starting from 1 January 2020.

The introduction was scheduled for 2018. SAF-T is a voluntary format for providing the Norwegian tax authorities with details of tax transactions since 2017.

Although introduction has been delayed one of our clients had to provide the files already when an audit was announced in 2017. From a risk management and audit defense perspective it is therefore still important to be ready in time.

Read more: Norway SAF-T delayed to 2020

Hungarian SAP health check: data in SAP incorrect and incomplete!

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 27/01/2018 at 10:33 am

From 1 July 2018, taxpayers are as stated earlier obliged to provide within 24 hours invoice data for domestic transactions with a minimum VAT amount of 100,000 HUF (322 EUR).

Although we offer a fully SAP-integrated solution in SAP itself to submit required data in an automated way, it is essential to review whether the data in SAP itself is correct and complete.

The Key Group has recently delivered its Hungarian SAP health check pilot for one of its major clients, and the outcome was that quite some changes in SAP had to be made to avoid either future questions by the tax authorities or announcement of a tax audit when data is submitted mid-2018.

Please keep in mind that the Hungarian tax authorities are aware that SAP setup itself is often not in order and that tools outside the ERP system are used to remediate and manipulate tax data outside of SAP with the purpose to improve tax reporting.

The full automated legal requirement is to force taxpayers to remediate the ERP VAT setup itself and realize that taxpayers do not use workarounds as Excel sheets or similar tools outside the ERP system as human intervention is not allowed.

When the definitive EU VAT system becomes in force – expected in 2021 – these data requests become even more critical.

The local tax authorities will use the acquired tax data to check whether sufficient tax revenue is received from the other Member State(s).

Based on this pilot we have designed an efficient and effective assessment process that will include not only an overview of gaps but as well our view how to remediate these gaps in SAP itself.

The Key Group offers an SAP health check specifically on the Hungarian legal requirements defined in XML format.

Download:  brochure

Read more: eInvoicing requirements in Hungary per July 1, 2018

eInvoicing requirements in Hungary per July 1, 2018

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 26/01/2018 at 10:58 pm

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From 1 July 2018, taxpayers are as stated earlier obliged to provide within 24 hours invoice data for domestic transactions with a minimum VAT amount of HUF 100,000 (322 EUR).

The ERP system must be able to detect sales invoices meeting reporting requirements: the minimum VAT amount. To be able to comply with the requirements and provide the data on in time, a taxpayer needs to develop either tooling or purchase a solution.

When invoicing takes place using an accounting/billing program, the invoice information has to be transmitted immediately from the billing program to the National Tax and Customs portal (NAV) without human intervention, via public internet, shortly after the invoice has been issued.

Taxpayers who do not send the data online immediately will be subject to tax penalties. The fundamental principle of the data supply is that an XML data file may contain only one invoice.

If for technical reasons, the billing program sends multiple invoice data to the tax office at a time; it cannot do so in a single data file. Breaking the accounts into separate data files is necessary.

Data supply includes the following primary data circuits:

  • Technical data of data service: exact time, endpoint identifier
  • Billing software data: manufacturer’s name, software name, version number
  • Invoice type
  • Initial invoice details
  • Modification invoice details

Source: eInvoicing requirements in Hungary per July 1, 2018

Towards a new and definitive VAT system for the EU

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 13/10/2017 at 7:58 pm

According to the Commission’s proposals, VAT will now be charged on cross-border trade between businesses. Currently, this type of trade is exempt from VAT, providing an easy loophole for unscrupulous companies to collect VAT and then vanish without remitting the money to the government.It will be simpler for companies that sell cross-border to deal with their VAT obligations thanks to a ‘One Stop Shop’ (OSS).

Traders will be able to make declarations and payments using a single online portal in their own language and according to the same rules and administrative templates as in their home country. Member States will then pay the VAT to each other directly, as is already the case for all sales of e-services.The Commission also proposes a move to the principle of ‘destination’ whereby the final amount of VAT is always paid to the Member State of the final consumer and charged at the rate of that Member State.

Source: Towards a new and definitive VAT system for the EU

Tax authorities demand more, faster and more frequent data

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 19/09/2017 at 3:19 pm

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The fierce debate on a fair distribution of tax revenues by governments has reached new heights. Tax shift due to risk allocation of transactions to low tax rate countries and even globalization itself are under political discussion. Protectionism is an important part of the strategic objectives of certain governments.

Additionally, the discussion concerning BEPS and state aid have caused fiscal uncertainties that force companies to reevaluate risks. In some cases this can even lead to changes in the business model. Current business models are put under a magnifying glass, but also the change of business models – for instance from commissionaire to limited risk distributor – will get attention from the tax authorities.

A reorganization in the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has established the objective that routinely and labor-intensive, yet relatively simple control activities are to be taken over by automated processes. That is, modern technologies appear to substitute to role of the ‘traditional’ tax auditor.

The idea is that new computer systems and data analysis software will allow data files from different source systems to be connected, thereby enabling more efficient tax control and requiring fewer ‘traditionally educated’ employees.

The objective also holds that the tax authorities have earlier and faster access to relevant tax data and that this data is periodically provided by tax payers in a format that is prescribed by the government and that can easily be read and immediately reveal inconsistencies in fiscal activities.

Transfer pricing and/or VAT regulations are still not sufficiently taken into account in the development of VAT-automation regarding business processes. This makes that the data that is captured in a vast amount of financial administration, can ‘impossibly’ be compared with that which is stated on the tax returns.

All chapters

  1. Introduction: Relevant tax data from Transfer Pricing and VAT: explaining the ‘Why’, ‘What’ and ‘How’
  2. The auditor is not (yet) a risk analyst
  3. New tax legislation in the UK: ‘Tone at the top’
  4. More attention for Transfer Pricing
  5. More attention for VAT
  6. Tax authorities request more, faster and more often tax data
  7. SAF-T rolled out in more countries
  8. The impact on in-house tax function’ and ‘Preaudit before submit’
  9. Realise a joint tax responsibility

Read: complete article with all chapters and links to follow up articles (in depth)

Above is a translation of article published in Vakblad Tax Assurance. Dutch version can be downloaded for free: Download click the link

Tax Risk Management – submitting tax relevant data to the tax authorities

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 09/08/2017 at 1:07 pm
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Tax authorities are besides optimizing traditional tax reporting systems increasingly implementing in addition electronic (almost) ‘real-time’ transaction reporting systems. It is expected that tax authorities due to technological innovations become increasingly better and faster in executing their tax audit.

Complementary to the existing and more traditional tax reporting in countries like Austria, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain already (close) to real time data request have to be submitted and/or should be available on short notice when a tax audit is announced.

In countries like Austria, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain already (close) to real time data request have to be submitted and/or should be available on short notice when a tax audit is announced.

What is next?

Italy, the VAT invoices data informative reports must be filed with the tax authorities on a six-monthly starting by September 18, 2017. From 2018 the deadlines will be on a quarterly basis. For Hungary realtime invoicing is postponed to 1 July 2018. Companies need to have to solution implemented that is capable of real time data transfer by 1st of July 2018 at the latest.

It is however not clear how the tax authorities actually will analyse the data received. That might change soon as their strategy is an improved and faster tax audit including combatting VAT fraud as an overall EU priority.

Let me explain

VAT Control Framework: how to get from A to B

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 07/08/2017 at 5:47 pm

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The critical conditions for success

The importance of indirect tax has increased over the last couple of years. While the rates for direct tax, corporate income tax, are decreasing, the rates for indirect tax keep rising. At multinational companies we’re easily talking about amounts of over 5 billion euros of indirect tax flowing through the books.

According to big4 surveys, the related control mechanisms are still inadequate. Not only can an error in the accounts lead to major additional tax assessments and substantial penalties, with amounts like these, it can be devastating for the reputation of a listed company. We are talking about extremely large amounts of money that lack appropriate control, but because KPIs have never been developed for this particular purpose, the risks remain outside the CFO’s field of view.

The Indirect Tax Function is aware of the fact that it is understaffed and that budget is too limited to optimally execute its tasks, but they often don’t know how to change this and get it on the agenda of the CFO.

It’s essential that change comes from the organization itself. An advisor can repeat this over and over, but if it isn’t carried out within the organization, by the people who actually have to work with it, nothing will change. And that deadlock must be broken.

What should be done to actually break it?

Let me explain

Being ready for GCC VAT introduction when operating SAP

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 26/07/2017 at 9:05 am

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The Governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar (status unknown due to GCC politics/friction), Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that make up GCC – are committed to form a common framework for the introduction of value added tax (VAT) in the region. In order to achieve conformity within the GCC, it is anticipated that the six member states will all aim for implementation of VAT during the period commencing 1 January 2018 or by the end of 2018.

VAT as a process will affect many aspects of businesses operating in the GCC and will require significant time to plan, and integrate into existing processes. The objectives:

  • To be ready in time and a need of an effective and efficient work process between Tax function, IT function and its third party consultants
  • To optimize its VAT deduction and to automate this VAT process as much as possible in SAP
  • To limit VAT risks and meet VAT reporting obligations (e.g. reverse charge mechanism to avoid non VAT compliance)
  • To automate VAT processes via enhancing the SAP ‘as is’ functionality where possible
  • Set up processes and controls when VAT automation is not feasible
  • To test new SAP functionality prior to go-live (sandbox)

Based on above objectives the PDF document ‘More detailed description of Work in booklet’ [see link below] established the scope, schedule and means of initiating the work to be performed by the service provider and describes or references the specifications, instructions, standards, and other documents, which the service provider shall satisfy or adhere to in the performance of the work.

The KEY Group is supporting one of the largest multinationals with the setup of the GCC VAT rules in SAP itself

Read more: Implementation activities in SAP IMG for VAT

More attention for Transfer Pricing

In Indirect Tax Strategic Plan on 21/04/2017 at 7:19 pm

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Many countries nowadays implement the BEPS recommendations such as the ‘master’ and ‘local’ file and the ‘Country-by-Country’ report. In general, this not only leads to an aggravation of Transfer Pricing (hereafter: TP) compliance activities, but also results in the potential discovery of errors that were previously undetectable. Indeed, TP processes are generally not (yet) automated and analysis activities regarding TP are primarily executed manually.

This situation makes it challenging to have all relevant tax data provided in time. This applies to both the collection of the required source data, as well as the TP analysis itself. Often, the supplied formats and templates are unusable or have to be ‘manually’ modified in Excel in order to be used.

The current trend is that increasingly more detailed information is necessary for specific products or services; ranging from who the order was placed by to details about the applied margins for service – and goods transactions and the conditions under which these took place. Timely access to such source data has thus become even more important.

This is also the ‘overlap’ with data required for the indirect tax function. Cross-border intercompany transactions form a risk area that will be included in the VAT risk matrix – risks that exceed the risk appetite – by every multinational and that requires efficient monitoring and checks.

All chapters

  1. Introduction: Relevant tax data from Transfer Pricing and VAT: explaining the ‘Why’, ‘What’ and ‘How’
  2. The auditor is not (yet) a risk analyst
  3. New tax legislation in the UK: ‘Tone at the top’
  4. More attention for Transfer Pricing
  5. More attention for VAT
  6. Tax authorities request more, faster and more often tax data
  7. SAF-T rolled out in more countries
  8. The impact on in-house tax function’ and ‘Preaudit before submit’
  9. Realise a joint tax responsibility

Read: complete article with all chapters and links to follow up articles (in depth)

Above is a translation of article published in Vakblad Tax Assurance. Dutch version can be downloaded for free: Download click the link

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