VAT will become more complex
If we look at current VAT trends, it is clear that they add more complexity to the work of the CFO and finance in general. The main trend we see is that there is a demand for more data and faster delivery of that data. In countries like France and Luxembourg, tax authorities require an SAF-T audit report, a detailed report of sales and purchases in a digital format. Other countries like Norway and Portugal dictate that data sets are provided systemically so that the tax authorities can perform a VAT audit whenever they want. Tax authorities in Spain require companies to yield their declarations at a much higher frequency – mostly just a few days. Here they also compare data sets with those of customers and suppliers. Finally, you have countries like Italy where e-invoicing is the norm. This means that the tax authority collects data in real time.
For now, companies in Belgium have it “easy” when it comes to VAT compliance. But once authorities get the ball rolling, it will become faster, stricter, and more complex in a heartbeat. CFOs will need to acquire new skills, people who know tax regulations through and through and who are also proficient with technology and data. Those profiles are hard to find, and they are not necessarily needed fulltime. That is why outsourcing or co-sourcing makes for a good alternative. Shared service centers are also growing in popularity.