Expert InformationFinance & ControllingManagement - 22.12.16

What's New in Accounting for 2017?

New Tax Regulations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, and Poland

The turn of the year 2016/2017 entails a number of changes in accounting. The ERP specialist proALPHA has investigated the new regulations for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, and Poland. With the year-end update, proALPHA adjusts its software solution to the new tax laws.

Germany: ELSTER, Sales Tax, and BilRUG

Software providers can automatically create sales tax returns and advance sales tax returns in the re-spective system by using the ELSTER Rich Client (EriC) library. Compliance with the ELSTER procedure as of 2005 is guaranteed. The structural modifications of the client library are contained in the year-end update in proALPHA. Installing the update is a requirement to electronically transmit the advance sales tax return and VAT information exchange report for 2017 and the sales tax return for 2016. The advance sales tax return now features the new ID 23 that allows further or different information to be included. This information has to be provided on a separate sheet with the title "Ergänzende Angaben zur Steueranmeldung" ("Additional information on the tax return").

German BilRUG (law to implement accounting directives) is part of the initiative to harmonize the Eu-ropean legal framework by making annual reports and financial statements provided by company groups comparable throughout Europe. It is a major change to commercial laws, balancing, reporting by larger companies, and information provided in the fixed asset analysis. 

Austria: RÄG

Like German BilRUG, Austrian RÄG is a law to change accounting principles that entails the restructuring of the Austrian Commercial Code UGB. This affects general regulations and principles, size classes as well as balancing and valuation and involves new disclosure requirements for attachments (fixed asset analysis) and management reports. 

Switzerland: Payment Transactions According to Message Standard ISO 20022

Instead of SEPA, Switzerland plans to introduce ISO 20022: the country wants to gradually harmonize standards for electronic payment transactions by 2020 in order to establish a procedure similar to SEPA, which is used throughout Europe and also based on ISO 20022. Bank transfers and direct debits will be processed completely on this basis and harmonized with European standards. The new standard will replace numerous different rules, procedures and formats for bank transfers, direct debits and documents in Switzerland. This harmonization will be of great benefit to all Swiss companies.

Italy: Tax Returns, Liquidation, and Changes to Report Obligation

The report obligation “Spesometro” was introduced in Italy at the beginning of 2012. It stipulates that corporate taxpayers with an Italian sales tax ID have to report delivered and received goods and ser-vices if these were completed in the respective calendar year. Report obligation starts at EUR 25,000. Several changes will take effect in May 2017, such as changes to periods and formal changes to the tax return. There will also be changes to the report obligation for liquidation and for tax-free domestic transactions.

Hungary: Sales Tax and "Real-Time Invoice Data Supply"

In summer 2016, Hungarian authorities made changes to tax regulations that will take effect in January 2017. On accounts receivable with a sales tax of more than HUF 100,000 (approx. EUR 330), the tax number of the invoice recipient has to be specified. For the domestic VAT information exchange report (VIE), there will be a transitional period until June 30, 2017, in which a limit of a sales tax of 1 million HUF will apply. 

Moreover, the "Real-time Invoice Data Supply" will apply as of July 2017. It stipulates that all corporate taxpayers in Hungary have to transmit their automatically generated invoice data to the tax authority online. The software therefore has to be able to provide all requested data of an account receivable with a sales tax of more than HUF 100,000 (approx. EUR 330) in electronic form and in real time. The final version of tax regulations was not yet available when this document was created (December 2016). For example, it is not clear whether invoice data have to be transmitted online to the tax authority before or at the time of invoicing. proALPHA will implement this requirement and publish corre-sponding information in due time.

Poland: Standard Audit Files (SAF) and Sales Tax

Changed tax regulations apply in Poland as of July 1, 2016. They stipulate that corporate taxpayers in Poland or foreign companies that have to pay VAT in Poland have to transmit tax-relevant data in a uniform electronic format. The format is based on the Standard Audit File (SAF) that contains a de-scription file which is to be used to transmit relevant data from the ERP system to a predefined XML file. proALPHA supports SAF.

SAF is part of the Polish Ministry of Finance's initiative to reform electronic tax audit in Poland. The new format is obligatory and serves as the uniform basis for all tax audits by tax authorities in Poland. Tax authorities have announced further changes. 


Further Information

You will find detailed information about regulatory changes in accounting here:

proALPHA Information: What's New in Accounting for 2017?



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