Long-Awaited the Greek SAF-T is on The Home Stretch Now with MyDATA

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Long-Awaited the Greek SAF-T is on The Home Stretch Now with MyDATA

By Ridvan Yigit – CCO @ SNI Technology – Tax Technology, Indirect Tax, Regulatory Reporting

Since the end of 2019, Greek taxpayers and foreign entrepreneurs doing business in Greece have been awaiting further details on the revolutionary electronic requirements. The time has finally come, and the Greek Tax Authorities (AADE) recently published a series of regulations, brochures and technical specifications concerning myDATA (my Digital Accounting and Tax Application). The solution is a comprehensive electronic reporting solution impacting the compliance process for VAT and corporate tax as well as accounting procedures.

Through myDATA platform, the tax authorities intend to have instant insight into the books and ledgers of taxpayers, allowing them to effectively fight tax fraud.

Entry into effect

The new regulations will come into effect during 2020. In the first place on 1 June 2020, taxpayers will be obliged to report sales transactions. As of October 2020, purchase transactions will have to be transmitted to the myDATA platform. It should be noted, the expectation is that by the end of the year the complete set of sales and purchase transactions for the whole year will be reported.

Regulatory landscape

Throughout January and February 2020, the AADE has issued three important decisions concerning implementation of the myDATA platform:

·      A. 1017/2020 on electronic invoice standard
·      A. 1024/2020 on the technical specification for data transmission
·      A. 1035/2020 on electronic service providers’ obligations

These regulations form a core e-books solution from a technical and process perspective.

Technical regulations include among other things information regarding frequency and means of communication. As initially planned, the frequency of the exchange of data is real-time. The batches are supposed to be sent and received in a range between 1-minute and 24-hour time slots. Additionally, for the sake of effective control and verification and to facilitate the reading of documents using smartphones and tablets, QR codes shall be mandatory (indicated on the documents). The QR codes will be used to instantly compare the data included in the document with the data reported on the myDATA platform.

Obligated entities and submission options

In general, all taxpayers are obliged to fulfill the E-Books requirements regardless of their size, as long as they are maintaining the accounting books based on the Greek Accounting Act (Law No. 4308/2014). Depending on the role in which the taxpayer acts (supplier/buyer) a different set of documents would be required.

All the data may be transferred to the myDATA portal via one of the following three options:

1.    accounting software
2.    e-invoicing service provider
3.    AADE’s online platform – limited communication bandwidth (only for “small” taxpayers)

For the purposes of the first option (accounting software), the details of REST API interface technical specifications have been issued, based on which the communication shall be available for any ERP or other accounting software owing to a universal infrastructure maintained on a public cloud (Microsoft Azure).

As previously announced the new requirement is generally split into two main reporting streams: E-Books (electronic bookkeeping) and E-Invoicing, which complement each other to establish an end-to-end electronic reporting structure.

Electronic Books (E-Books) requirement

The latest version of E-Books is 0.6 released on 21 February 2020. As previously planned, the two basic groups of information must be electronically communicated to myDATA portal. These are:

1.    Records – ledgers of sales, purchases, payroll, fixed assets

The seller and the buyer shall transmit all their documents issued/received categorized by the flow of transaction (foreign vs. domestic) and by type of transaction (e.g, wholesale, retail, goods, services). AADE has defined 17 types of documents that can be transmitted (including goods, services, self-invoice, credit memo, proof of collection, shipping document). Within these types, there are approximately 50 additional subcategories available for each document type. On top of that, the AADE specified the number of detailed tax characteristics (i.e., VAT categories (rates), VAT exemption codes, withholding tax classification), and accounting codes (revenue and expense classifications).

Consequently, the tax authorities would have a crystal-clear view of the taxpayer’s transaction structure allowing for a variety of checks across the tax and accounting data.

Additionally, both parties are obliged to share the data for payroll (monthly), depreciation (annual), and other income/expense settlements (provisions, adjustments) by the end of the tax year.

Once a transmission is made, the data are automatically updated in myDATA platform both on the side of the transmitting party as well as its counterparty. This allows for the instant verification and identification of any mismatches, which are further communicated to the taxpayers. As AADE indicates in their materials. the mismatch may already be a trigger for starting the audit.

In case the data provided by the supplier are correct, the counterparty is not obliged to submit the summary of its purchase transactions.

2.    Summaries – totals (balances) of particular accounts

The summary register (book) presents the total numbers for a period (month/year), after the detailed records have been updated. The data are structured based on monthly revenue cost totals:

–         Revenue / cost value
–         Balance (+/-) 
–         Income tax
–         Output / Input VAT value
–         VAT balance (payment/refund)
–         Withholding taxes
–         Postage tax
–         Other taxes (insurance premium, hotel tax, luxury tax, etc.)
–         Fees (environmental, pay TV, telephone) 

Electronic invoicing (E-Invoicing) requirement

At the moment only B2G e-invoicing is mandatory (for certain public authorities already in force as of April 2019 and expected for the entire public sector as of April 2020). The B2B / B2C e-invoicing is not mandatory, however, it is considered an important ingredient of the electronic reporting concept. It should be expected that the mandate would be established sooner or later.

AADE regulations on electronic invoice standards define the detailed information that must be included in the e-invoice. In this context, the decision issued by AADE follows the European standard, which ensures that it is compatible with the purposes of international trade (PEPPOL/PEPPOL-CIUS). It should be mentioned that on top of the requirements contained therein, the invoice should include all the data required by the VAT law.

In a separate law, the requirements for the e-invoicing providers have been regulated – defining who can serve as an e-invoicing provider, its obligations, and most importantly the software license details and procedure for granting one (Decision No. A.1035 of 20 February 2020).

Therefore, firm legal grounds have been put in place to integrate e-invoicing with myDATA platform. It seems just a matter of time (needed for granting an EU approval) to introduce a full e-invoicing obligation, following the Italian model.