How to be compliant with Portuguese SAF-T

How to be compliant with Portuguese SAF-T

4 February 2013

By Robbert Hoogeveen, CFO of the KEY Group

In Portugal it is required to submit a monthly SAF-T (PT) report for sales invoices from January 2013 onwards to the tax authorities.

The first SAF-T (PT) report has to be submitted before 25 February 2013. The data that has to be included in the SAF-T (PT) report are available in most ERP systems but creating a report with all the data in the correct data format is not easy.

Data has to be retrieved from different sources within the ERP system and has to be “enriched” to meet the required Portuguese format. In standard SAP a report function is available to create SAF-T reports for Portugal.

This report is based on the data archiving policy and functionality in SAP, it is however not designed for monthly reporting requirements. It is also very complicated to correctly configure this report and it will take significant resources and time to get the standard SAP report up and running in line with Portuguese tax authorities’ requirements. Because of the complexity of the standard SAP SAF-T reports, the KEY group has used another approach and developed a stand-alone solution. The blueprint of this stand-alone solution is as follows:

  • We define the data required from the different SAP resources (customer master, billing, accounting and tax data)
  • This data will be downloaded from SAP by using standard functionality
  • Together with the customer, the standard coding in use (i.e. invoice type) is defined and analysed on its impact on the SAF-T report
  • The downloaded data is imported in our data-analytics tool. The data from the different sources will be connected and processed in order to be able to get all mandatory data in the correct Portuguese format
  • The processed data will be exported to another KEY Group tool that creates the required output in the so-called XML format.

The solution described above is quite complicated but we have been able to automate the most important parts. The key challenge is the download of the required data from SAP but when we have received the data we can create the SAF-T report within 1 working day.

It is a flexible solution based on our extensive knowledge of ERP/SAP systems combined with our audit and data-analytics capabilities.

It is a tailor-made solution that could be implemented within a couple of days. In case you are facing similar issues in creating the monthly SAF-T reports for Portugal via SAP feel free to contact me.

Together we can create a fit-for-purpose solution that will be cost effective and allows you to comply with the Portuguese requirements

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Take aways 

Anticipate what users would want

We combine technical knowledge with industry understanding and knowhow of technologically advanced tools and methodologies available in the market or developed by ourselves.

What do we like to achieve

  • Focus on tax processes that could be improved
    • Manual process: same data requests are made by different stakeholders
  • As Is assessment
  • Anticipate future changes and the data needed
    • What are tax trends?
    • What is happening locally and what should be considered across jurisdictions where you operate?
    • Anticipate new stakeholders and their data needs or requests (internal and external)
  • Define scope and actions for short, mid and long term
  • Write business case for change
  • Realize sponsorship for implementation

‘As is’ assessment, actions and business case

  • What tax data is requested and by whom?
  • What tax process can be improved and what can be automated?
    • CIT, VAT, tax data warehouse
  • What is the Return on Investment?
    • Hard saving: process improvement
    • Meeting (new) tax requirement
  • What systems are in use: SAP, Oracle, etc
    • By which entities?
  • How many end-use computing tools (e.g. excel spreadsheet) do we have?
  • How do we avoid an ad-hoc solution?
    • Understand the bigger picture
    • Real problem and not the symptom

Risk and reward

Technology-related tax risk: understand and address the potential harms and benefits of (new) technology.

Technology tools & systems integration

Ascertaining proper IT support for ensuring efficient, timely and reliable reporting.

Change and project management

VAT should be considered in every aspect of the process, from concept through completion and beyond. Managing by design — looking at any process or transaction from end to end and factoring in all the requirements and controls essential to designing and optimizing a compliant VAT process.

Effective communication and teaming

We speak the language of the business and IT and no translation is needed.