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.

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

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SNI and Key Group announce for 50 multinationals a successful Spanish SII filing

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Istanbul, Turkey and Amsterdam, the Netherlands — SNI and Key Group announce for 50 multinationals a successful Spanish SII filing
 
The Spanish SII filing, a new requirement introduced by the Spanish government, requires taxpayers to submit VAT relevant transactional data of their Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR) records in a specific XML format close to real-time to the Spanish tax authorities (AEAT). To support these new regulations our clients have implemented our SAP add-on for Spain. 
 
That is a SAP integrated solution for Spain with a cockpit to select reportable outgoing and incoming invoices, create periodic SII files (envelopes), E-submission of SII XML files and control reports. The creation and submission of the SII reports could be fully automated in SAP Batch jobs. It is however also possible to do some SII reports (for example the sales invoices) fully automated and other SII reports (for example the incoming invoices) manually.
 
We are pleased to announce that our first actual SII VAT filing submission were completed successfully prior to first submission deadline.

Richard Cornelisse, CEO Key Group and Cem Yurdakul, CEO SNI


All flags are green

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More detail: SAP – submitting close to real time data to tax authorities

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Partnership between Key Group, SNI and ConVista

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A partnership is closed between the Key Group, SNI and the international operating SAP consultancy firm ‘ConVista Consulting’ with offices amongst others in Madrid and Barcelona. Key Group and SNI operate from Netherlands, Poland and Turkey.


Who we are

In order to establish synergies to support business SAP challenges of our clients we have setup a joint venture initiative in the past. Tax SAP experts – KEY Group and Phenix Consulting – developing together with SNI a global development partner of SAP and leading software company in the area of e-invoice, e-bookkeeping, e-archive, e-ticket.

SNI’s core business is to provide SAP certified add-ons for legal compliance to a large number of global well-known companies. We have therefore access in-house to senior Tax SAP experts working together with SAP experts (functional and technical). That means our turnaround time is fast and our quality is very high.

A partnership is closed with the international operating SAP consultancy firm ‘ConVista Consulting’ with offices amongst others in Madrid and Barcelona. Our partnership relates to distribution, implementation and maintenance support (Spanish language) for our SAP SII add-on solution for Spain.

ConVista is an experienced consulting firm with a large track record in the design and installation of financials & treasury applications with SAP. We offer comprehensive IT consulting services complemented by custom software development. ConVista provides a complete service offering from a single source. Streamlined processes, a higher degree of automation and shorter project durations serve as indicators for improved efficiency. Expertise in process, technology and methodology form the fundamental components of our work. We combine long-lasting experience in the implementation and delivery of large programs with in-depth knowledge of treasury applications from SAP.

Quienes somos

Hemos desarrollado una iniciativa conjunta con el fin de establecer sinergias para ayudar a nuestros clientes en los desafíos de negocio de SAP. Los expertos en impuestos SAP – KEY Group y Phenix Consulting – forman junto con SNI un partner global de SAP y una compañía de software líder en el área de factura electrónica, e-book, e-archive, e-ticket. Además nuestro partnership con ConVista nos permite dar cobertura a nuestros clientes en numerosos países, facilitando la implantación y mantenimiento de nuestras soluciones.

La principal actividad de SNI consiste en proporcionar add-ons certificados por SAP para cubrir los requisitos legales en un gran número de empresas ampliamente conocidas. Por este motivo disponemos de expertos senior en el área de impuestos que trabajan conjuntamente con expertos de SAP (funcionales y técnicos), lo que nos permite un tiempo de respuesta rápido y una alta calidad.

The auditor is not (yet) a risk analyst

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The term materiality has many meanings and definitions. Boundaries of materiality are primarily determined based on personal estimations. This can be estimations by auditors, risk management departments, company directors, etc.

The term materiality, used as a quantitative norm, then serves as an approval boundary. Evidently, the materiality used to determine the tax risk appetite of businesses is significantly lower than the materiality used by the external auditor in the annual audit.

The external auditor’s task is only to provide an opinion whether the annual accounts provide a true and fair representation of the company’s affairs. He or she is not asked to provide a statement regarding the accuracy or the acceptability of the submitted return for corporate tax, income tax, VAT etc.

The examples of tax situations listed below should, however, also receive full attention from auditors. These stock market listed companies have after all, been obliged based on the SEC rules to report their risks to their investors:

  • Google avoided €227 million in taxes in Italy. Google paid £130 million to the British tax authorities and agreed to pay higher taxes in the future. In France, the tax authorities demanded €1.6 billion from Google.
  • Apple paid €318 million as a settlement to the Italian tax authorities after a two-year fraud investigation. Apple missed a deadline to pay €13 million in taxes to Irish authorities in the context of state aid. Due to the special treatment given by the Irish government, the effective tax rate was just 0,05%.
  • Facebook (FB, Tech30) disclosed that the IRS conducted an investigation into the way it moved assets to an Irish subsidiary to avoid higher taxes. According to Facebook’s SEC filing, the amount totals $3 – $5 billion, plus interest.
  • Coca-Cola was found to to owe the US tax authorities $3.3 billion, plus interest, based on an audit by the IRS. Profits were incorrectly recognized in foreign countries, rather than the US.

In case these tax-related issues are considered individually per county and per company, it could be put into question whether these matters are also material for the auditor. Notably, the media also discuss the reputation of these companies. Any potential reputational damage and/or fiscal uncertainty might impact not only the share price but also external relations including that with the tax authorities.

The loss of tax income due to the movement of assets to low tax rate jurisdictions is conservatively estimated to total between $100 and $240 billion.

The amount of media attention, public indignation and political reactions these cases have received – including for instance that of US senator and (former) presidential candidate Bernie Saunders – emphasize the differences in tax morality. Why should ordinary citizens comply with tax obligations, while multinationals or soccer players are attempting to avoid paying a ‘fair share’ of taxes by means of tax-saving structures? Both media and politics have given a great deal of attention to cases such as the ‘Panama Papers’, ‘Lux Leaks’, ‘The Netherlands Tax Haven’ and ‘Football Leaks’.

In the context of an investigation regarding state aid, the European Commission states that providing tax rulings (advance pricing agreements; APA’s) should not result in situations in which some taxpayers pay less than other taxpayers under the same circumstances.

As a result of the Panama Papers, many Corporate Service Providers, shell corporations and advisors are interrogated by the Dutch parliament with regard to tax avoidance and tax evasion. These are companies without any significant assets or activities in the Netherlands that solely serve as a vehicle for shifting interest and royalties within international companies. Due to the application of tax treaties, this construction results in a significantly lower corporate taxes.

During his presidential campaign in 2008 Barack Obama illustrated the issue:

“There’s a building in the Cayman Islands that houses supposedly 12,000 U.S.-based corporations. That’s either the biggest building in the world or the biggest tax scam in the world, and we know which one it is.”

Evidently, we’ve entered a broader discussion, reaching beyond the question of what is tenable based on fiscal laws and regulations. Beside financial risks – that can be material – it concerns reputational damage, which can, as previously mentioned, negatively affect share prices.

Business operations can thus be fiscally appropriate, complying with tax laws and regulations, yet deemed unacceptable according to societal norms. This is a relatively new phenomenon in terms of reputational risks that affects the risk management from the overarching ‘business control framework’.

Questions that need to be asked include for instance: does the current business model still fit the ‘reconsidered’ business strategy?

In terms of tax revenues, a global trend is emerging shifting from direct to indirect taxes. The rates for VAT are increasing, whereas the rates for corporate tax are decreasing. An average multinational has over €5 billion in indirect tax flowing through the business. A mistake of one percent can make the difference between profit or loss. This is material, also for an auditor.

  1. Introduction: Relevant tax data from Transfer Pricing and VAT: explaining the ‘Why’, ‘What’ and ‘How’
  2. Next week: New tax legislation in the UK: ‘Tone at the top’

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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Relevante belastingdata vanuit TP en BTW: de ‘Waarom’, ‘Wat’ en ‘Hoe’

Door Richard H. Cornelisse en Edwin van Loon
Gepubliceerd in Vakblad Tax Assurance

Samenvatting

De belastingmoraal verschuift. Steeds meer wordt iets wat wettelijk gezien mag, niet automatisch ook geaccepteerd door de publieke opinie. Reputatieschade dreigt. Belastingdiensten worden ook scherper, op zowel directe en indirecte belastingen. Ze willen vaker, sneller en meer gegevens zien. Daarnaast is er een tendens om de eindverantwoordelijkheid voor fiscale zaken hoger in de onderneming te leggen; in het Verenigd Koninkrijk ligt die sinds vorig jaar zelfs al bij de Raad van Bestuur.

Die twee tendensen stellen eisen aan de interne fiscale afdelingen en de externe accountants, maar bieden ook kansen. De gegevens die de belastingdiensten eisen, zouden door het bedrijf zelf goed gemonitord en geïnterpreteerd moeten worden, om te kijken in hoeverre die gegevens misschien wijzen op ongewenste situaties en te grote belastingrisico’s. Het kan ook zo zijn dat die gegevens duidelijk maken dat het bedrijf er misschien goed aan doet de bedrijfsprocessen anders te organiseren.

Door samenwerking van fiscale specialisten kan een gezamenlijke verantwoordelijkheid voor het totale fiscale reilen en zeilen van de multinational ontstaan. Van daaruit is een beter zicht op mogelijk gewenste investeringen voor het bedrijf mogelijk. Zo kan fiscaliteit de plaats innemen die het misschien altijd al verdient: als belangrijk onderdeel van het totale overkoepelende ondernemingsbeleid.

Gratis artikel lezen en downloaden

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Geschreven door Richard H. Cornelisse en Edwin van Loon

  • mr. Richard H. Cornelisse, Tax Assurance Expert, managing director van de Key Group en Phenix Consulting
  • Edwin van Loon RTAP, Tax Control Framework Coordinator ING Bank NV

SAP add on for ‘VAT Smartform PDF’ in Poland

We offer a new SAP add-on solution that creates automatically the VAT Smartform from SAP. When our SAF-T SAP add-on solution has been purchased this additional functionality will be managed under SAF-T cockpit as a different report.

Companies selling across European Union borders have to submit EC Sales List (ESL). This should contain the details of sales or transfers of goods and services to other VAT registered companies in other EU countries summarized per VAT registration number. The tax authorities in the EU use the listings to check whether VAT is declared by the parties involved in cross-border transactions (e.g. no mismatches).

In Poland a specific extra local requirement applies. As of 1 January 2017 taxpayers making transactions with EU members will be required to submit mandatory the declaration in electronic format.

The Polish tax authorities provides a VAT Smartform PDF that a company has to fill in with the requested information. That Smartform is mandatory and must be used to meet the requirement. Without automation support the data has to be entered manually by the company.

Entering data is a time consuming process. Besides the impact on internal resources, such manual activity increases the risk of data errors, i.e. with entering the VAT registration numbers in the Smartform.

Stricter penalties apply for individuals involved in tax fraud and penalties are introduced for taxpayers who do meet the legal requirement of submitting declarations in electronic format.

Source: SAP – submitting close to real time data to tax authorities

In Spain on 1 July 2017: immediate supply of Information to tax authorities in force

In Spain a new VAT reporting system will enter into force on the 1st of July 2017. The new Spanish requirements will have a huge impact on many (multi)nationals that run SAP as standard SAP will not provide an E2E solution.

SAP add on for SII

The SAP add-on is based on the selection of the VAT relevant transactions from the SAP ledgers. This can be done manually with a new SAP transaction or in an automated way via scheduled batch jobs. The SII relevant data from the selected source transactions are stored in a new customized SII table. That single source ensures your data integrity and consistency. There will be no need for maintenance of multiple systems as it will all be maintained in SAP itself. All reportable SII data are available via a single SAP cockpit which enables easy (tax risk) management of the SII reports.

Read more: In Spain on 1 July 2017: immediate supply of Information to tax authorities in force

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

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).

SAP add-on solution

In Spain a new VAT reporting system will enter into force on the 1st of July 2017. The new Spanish requirements will have a huge impact on many (multi)nationals that run SAP as SAP itself does not provide an E2E solution.

Businesses classified as large companies will just have a couple of months left to adopt this new requirement in its processes, controls and systems.

It will be a real challenge. Failure to comply in time could result in penalties and increased risk of a tax audit. The goods news is that we developed already a SAP integrated SII solution.

That is not new for us as we have developed similar SAP add-on solutions before when SAF-T in Poland, Lithuania and Norway was introduced. SII is our next step in supporting clients that face IT business challenges.

We developed a SAP add-on solution by which the e-submission of the required data from AR and AP invoices is fully integrated in SAP without an external interface or use of external software.  With this add-on the submission of the requested invoices can be done automatically and in time.

Our SII for Spain is ready and functionality can be demonstrated via our own SAP environment.

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

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.
More an more countries will implement ‘the Standard Audit File for Tax Purposes (SAF-T) developed by the OECD. This format is intended to give tax authorities easy access to the relevant data in an easy readable format. This leads to much more efficient and effective tax inspections.
E-audits will be performed – using data analytics – on data submitted electronically by the taxpayers.

Read more

Google Lowered 2015 Taxes by $3.6 Billion Using ‘Dutch Sandwich’

Alphabet Inc.’s Google saved $3.6 billion in worldwide taxes in 2015 by moving 14.9 billion euros ($15.5 billion) to a Bermuda shell company, new regulatory filings in the Netherlands reveal.

Source: Google Lowered 2015 Taxes by $3.6 Billion Using ‘Dutch Sandwich’ – Bloomberg