From 1 January 2020, all companies liable to accounting standards must be able to export their bookkeeping information in standard data format (SAF-T accounting) via Altinn. In an increasingly digitalized world, Norwegian tax authorities want easier and faster access to entity accounting and tax data in a structured digital format. Digitally transmitting data and analyses will be the new reality for many entities.
SAF-T (Accounting / Financial) is a standard format for the exchange of accounting data. SAF-T, or Standard Audit File-Tax, is developed jointly by industry organizations, system vendors and the Norwegian Tax Authority (Skatteetaten), following the recommendation of the OECD. Norway has chosen to use the standard XML format. Entities must therefore convert accounting and tax data into an XML file, and then electronically submit the data file to the tax authorities via Altinn.
The SAF-T file contains a number of mandatory data elements, including account specification and general ledger data, customer and supplier data (residual accounts), value added tax data as well as specific data on the individual entities.
Entities with less than NOK 5 million in sales are exempt from the requirement. However, if the entity still has posted information available electronically, they will not be exempt.
We at KPMG have developed a broad range of services within SAF-T, both in Norway and other countries in the world that have introduced similar regulations. Based on our experience, we have developed a toolbox of our own solutions.
Through a GAP analysis, we, together with the entity, will undergo a maturity analysis to identify possible challenges and issues that should be disseminated in order to implement SAF-T. We will generally review master data, possibilities for data extraction, account plans, value-added tax codes, assessment of setup in the financial system and possibility of XML in the financial system.
Through our SAF-T as a service, we will assist with the entire value chain during implementation. We will assist with extraction of data, mapping and transformation of data, quality assurance of accounting and value-added tax codes, etc. to be able to prepare all data in the SAF-T file. We will also assist with testing and validation of data, as well as, submission to the tax authorities.
Using advanced analytics and logic, we have developed a number of analyses and control queries based on our experience from Norway and abroad, in particular related to potential risks in internal pricing, accounting, value added tax, tax and bookkeeping. We have a directory of control and analysis tools that are continuously being developed based on our experience of focus and control areas from the tax authorities, nationally and internationally.
It is only in connection with a possible check, and when the tax authorities request it, that the accounting personnel must submit SAF-T files in XML format.
One of the main objectives of the introduction of SAF-T is to streamline the tax authorities' control and audit procedures. Via SAF-T, we want the tax authorities to access large amounts of data in a structured format, that will form a larger basis for control than before. This may mean that the tax authorities can go deeper in the control of transaction data, but also increase the control area, for example within VAT, internal pricing, the Bookkeeping Act, etc.
KPMG has established an interdisciplinary SAF-T team that has prepared standard processes for SAF-T assistance. This typically consists of services such as data extraction from the client's systems, mapping and transformation of data, testing of produced SAF-T files, data analysis etc.