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With a view to combating VAT fraud, the European Commission is now thinking about using data analysis tools or models comparable to the SAF-T in the framework of the mutual cooperation implemented between EU Member States, whereby they are exchanging more and more electronic data.

The business perspective: difficulties facing businesses in e-audits Up until now, most businesses, especially the largest organizations, have found it difficult and uncomfortable to undergo an e-audit even though they are used to managing indirect taxes (especially VAT/GST) electronically through their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Several reasons may help to explain it: Good practices for a relaxed e-audit Accepting that e-audits are now the current state and not the future state of tax audits permits the business to anticipate and prepare — as one is almost certainly coming soon!

Certain EU tax authorities have introduced the SAF-T (such as Portugal and Luxembourg), while other EU tax authorities have introduced variants of the SAF-T model to have a systematic e-audit approach (for instance, France, Germany and the Netherlands).Key questions include: These demands may also logically influence the introduction of data analytics tools for use by in-house VAT functions to allow businesses to manage VAT more effectively and to prepare themselves for future e-audits.Having the same knowledge as the tax administrations about these new audit weapons will certainly help businesses to be more compliant before inspections and therefore more relaxed about the audit process when the time comes!Companies will need to start by understanding key areas of impact to their business model, and preparing different scenarios for the design and application of VAT.The implementation of changes will have to be managed through robust program management across various company stakeholders in the entire value chain.

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