The SAF-T series part 1: Periodical tax reporting in Poland
At TrustWeaver, we often find ourselves researching many different areas of compliance. Periodical tax reporting is one of the areas we’ve had reason to keep a close eye on. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to argue that tax authorities are getting increasingly more creative when it comes to finding new areas to come down hard on in order to close the VAT gap. Regulating the periodical tax reporting process seems to be the trend du jour. Put simply, more and more EU Member States are expanding their focus from pure e-invoicing constraints to the processes and format for periodical VAT reporting, often through the Standard Audit File for Tax (SAF-T).
The reason EU Member States are proceeding down this path is simply because they can. There is no corresponding EU level directive or regulation to exclusively and exhaustively regulate this area. So while the hands of legislators all over Europe are bound in that they cannot over-regulate the invoice, there is nothing to stop them from doing the same for the periodical tax report. What will be the result of this? Success, according to the collection of fiscally relevant data of course, but at the cost of yet another layer of EU fragmentation.
As a consequence, we have started looking at how companies can best take a streamlined EU-wide approach to at least part of the process – the delivery of SAF-T reports. An interesting example here is a legal development in Poland whereby taxpayers are required to submit seven different SAF-T structures on a monthly basis. One of them in particular, the so-called JPK-VAT file, has even had the delivery method regulated. Taxpayers have two options for delivering the SAF-T report to the Polish Ministry of Finance, either by a) CD/DVD or through b) a software connected to the Ministry of Finance. The latter option is only permitted if the report has been digitally signed using a Qualified Electronic Signature in the meaning of Art 3.12 of the eIDAS Regulation.
If you’re familiar with what TrustWeaver does, you’ll know why we agree that sealing the report of fiscal data with an electronic signature is a really smart thing to do. We will for sure be monitoring this field to see if this becomes an EU-wide trend or simply another aspect of fragmentation. The explicit reference to eIDAS qualified e-signatures will be an interesting test to see if the Tax Administration’s e-signature validation service is using the Trusted List (TSL) concept to seamlessly accept compliance signatures from other Member States.
Anna Nordén, General Counsel, TrustWeaver