Like walking through Customs knowing you’ve got nothing to declare, submitting VAT returns can cause a flutter of nerves. What if you’ve accidentally done something wrong?
VAT is a complex area and feeling confident you are complying with the regulations at all levels is tricky, especially when it comes to travel and expenses. So let’s look at the areas where businesses are most likely to run into difficulties and what you can do to overcome them.
Inadvertently submitting fraudulent data
Assuming the travel and expense forms and receipts you have submitted are correct isn’t enough. If the Federal Tax Authority decides to audit, they will want to review your entire system from end-to-end, including whether you have a clear and enforced process and have appropriate checks and controls in place. This might seem extreme, but when you bear in mind that one in five employees thinks it’s okay to exaggerate expense claims, you start to see why it’s important.
If you feel you may need a helping hand, auditing services like Concur Audit gives you the confidence you need in your travel and expense data. As part of its process, Concur Audit checks the receipt status and VAT calculations against receipts for improved tax and regulatory compliance.
Not only does it give you confidence, it gives you back the time you spend reviewing expenses and provides exceptional visibility into your spend.
Falling foul of international requirements
If you or any other company employee travels to the EU (or further abroad) on business, knowing what and how to reclaim the VAT on the expenses is tricky. You’re faced with two choices: run the risk of submitting non-compliant data or don’t claim at all.
To make sure you’re not losing out financially and can ease the burden of making sure you have ‘dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s’, SAP Concur has partnered with a number of tax reclaim experts to help streamline foreign VAT recovery.
Missing the deadlines
Maybe gathering all the information together took longer than usual. Maybe you were involved in another complex project and the need to submit a VAT return simply slipped your mind. Whatever the reason, when you miss a deadline, your business isn’t compliant.
There are two solutions. You can put together a compliance calendar that includes the deadlines and key milestones you need to meet in order to submit on time.
You can also make the process much less time-intensive. Tools such as Concur Expense mean you’re capturing information all the time, which gives you two benefits. You get much more visibility into spend much earlier in the process. You also know that the information you need is available at the click of a button when you need it.
Not learning from experience
It’s a familiar situation. You have one person who knows a process inside out and is the expert on the subject. Then, one day, the expert isn’t there – they’re on holiday, they’re off sick or they’ve left the company. Whatever the reason, all the expertise is lost just when you need it most. When it’s something as important as a VAT return, it’s a big problem.
You can resolve this by putting together a process document. It should capture the who, what, where, when, why and – crucially – how of VAT returns. It should be detailed enough so that someone who has never done it before can use it to complete the work successfully.
If you’re looking for solutions to help your business manage compliance across your travel, expense and invoice spend, SAP Concur has the answer.