Enablers of the tax function

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For a tax function to produce timely deliverables and satisfying the requirements of the board and other stakeholders, the effectiveness of tax department’s 'governance', 'operation' and 'infrastructure' are essential enablers. This article sets out the business challenges and areas of improvement for these enablers.

Being ready for GCC VAT introduction when operating SAP

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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.

Relevant tax data: explaining the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’

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Tax morale is shifting. More often what is (still) legally allowed may not automatically be accepted by the public opinion. Reputational damage is imminent. Both on direct and indirect taxation the tax authorities have set their priorities.

Transfer pricing and IT needs

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From a tax controversy perspective TP documentation is important and often results in conflicting priorities within the tax function (allocation of budget and tax resources). Better resource allocation and process improvement can be achieved via (semi)automated documentations, configure ERP systems to support TP needs or implement add-on or bolt-on tools. For example, in the area of data extraction and workflow management, entity charting, document storage, real time reporting, scenario planning and data interrogation.

VAT determination of AP invoices

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The purchase order (PO) and the vendor invoice are the VAT relevant data sources used to determine the VAT treatment of incoming invoices. However, the vendor invoice data is in general not available in SAP. In order to automate the VAT determination, it is essential that external information is added in an easy and intelligent way.

About SAF-T and e-invoicing - country specific methods without harmonization

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Tax administrations use technology to improve tax audit effectiveness as combating VAT fraud is a high priority. Digitalization of tax is a trend, so more countries will follow soon. Every jurisdiction has its country-specific way and tax requirements. Countries have implemented e-invoicing with (almost) real-time electronic data submission or SAF-T based methods.

A SAP add-on to be able to cope with SAF-T and e-tax audits

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Tax authorities around the world want to receive more frequent and faster tax relevant data for e-audit purposes to analyse Corporate Income Tax (CIT) and VAT positions taken to combat VAT fraud and to determine whether actually a fair share is paid (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting: 'OECD's BEPS'). More countries will therefore move to data request to monitor and electronic audits (e-audits) taxpayers. SAP itself does not provide an E2E solution to meet these (new) legal requirements.

High level: EU VAT system

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A high level overview is provided of the EU VAT system: what is subject to VAT and the right and methods of VAT recoverability. It includes also a comparison with the US Sales and Use Taxes system.

Best in class data analysis for VAT

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Tax Authorities, due to technological innovations, have become increasingly better in executing their tax audit. The probability that the Tax Authorities will issue additional assessments and penalties in the near future because errors in indirect tax are detected, increases by the day. Analytics could also increase a company's efficiency and gain strategic insight. What is needed for best in class data analysis for VAT?

VAT function effectiveness

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A key business objective in today’s complex regulatory environment is the promotion of shareholder confidence in a company’s financial statements. Finance functions of major multinationals operate within a corporate culture that places increasing emphasis on the core values of trust and integrity. Within this culture the overriding strategic imperative of many CFOs is to manage their company’s financial reporting obligations and avoid reputational risk.

When expertise is needed upfront

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The tax function should ascertain proper implementation and determine the impact of changes in businesses, laws and regulations on implemented tax planning. Getting ahead of possible problems at the planning stage before they arise in practice is one critical way to make sure that the company reaps the benefits. When the business model changed as a result of the implementation of a centralized procurement model, this could create not only VAT risks, but commercial risks as well. 

Hungarian update: eInvoicing requirements starts 1 July 2018

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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 (approximately 322 EUR).

eInvoicing requirements in Italy per January 1, 2019

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Starting January 1, 2019, in Italy a mandatory electronic invoicing obligation will be in force for the supplies of goods or services. This e-invoicing obligation - similar like Spain and Hungary - is about detecting and combating VAT fraud/tax evasion, but also to stimulate company's to get ready for the digital age. Taxpayers will be forced to get their ERP systems to send and receive in XML format e-invoicing data via the Interchange System ('SDI').

SAP add-on for immediate Supply of Information (SII) in Spain

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SII (“Suministro Inmediato de Información”) in Spain is about changing the current VAT management system which has been in place for 30 years, introducing a new bookkeeping system for VAT on the AEAT online system, by providing all billing records virtually immediately. The new Immediate Supply of Information accelerates the gap between recording or booking invoices and the actual realisation of the underlying economic transaction. It is introduced because the current technological situation allows its implementation at this time, to improve both taxpayer assistance as taxation controls (e-tax audits).

Towards a new and definitive VAT system for the EU

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The Commission adopts new proposals for the most far-reaching VAT reform in the EU for a quarter of a century VAT is a major and growing source of revenue in the EU, raising over €1 trillion in 2015, corresponding to 7% of EU GDP. However, despite many reforms, the VAT system has been unable to keep pace with the challenges of today's global, digital and mobile economy. The current VAT system dates from 1993 and was intended to be a transitional system.