The Luxembourg VAT law allows the VAT Authorities to carry out dematerialised VAT audits.
At the end of 2009, the Luxembourg VAT Authorities published on their website a first recommendation about the implementation of the "Fichier d'audit informatisé AED" (FAIA) designed to carry out efficient dematerialised VAT audits.
The FAIA is designed to be a standard file. It is an interface between the systems of taxable persons and the systems used by the VAT Authorities for performing audits. It takes the form of a structured file through which information on the business is exported from the systems of the taxable person. This file is based on the Standard Audit File for Tax (SAF-T) developed at the OECD level.
The legal basis for this new requirement is the law of 19 December 2008 concerning the assistance between tax administrations (read more), which amends among others article 70.3, 2nd paragraph of the Luxembourg VAT law. This article provides now that when books, documents and, generally, all information which must be provided upon request to the authorities, are available electronically, they must be communicated in any form and following any technical specifications as the authorities will require.
Therefore, any taxpayer who uses an electronic accounting system is required to deliver the relevant data electronically upon request of the VAT office. As long as the taxpayer cannot provide a compliant FAIA file, the law provides penalties ranging from 50 to 1,000 EUR per day.
Luxembourg VAT Authorities published a second recommendation, taking into account observations and questions raised from businesses working in collaboration with PwC. This new guidance paper essentially introduced categories of businesses exempt to meet the FAIA requirements, for the time being.
The VAT authorities also published the list of fields (obligatory and facultative) on their website on October 2011 (FAIA version 2.0). On February 2013, the VAT authorities have communicated a new recommendation concerning FAIA (FAIA version 2.01) and added FAQs.
The technical description of the file structure defined in the .xsd file as well as the recommendations and FAQs can be found here.
The introduction of the FAIA clearly intends to bring VAT audits in Luxembourg to a new era. Until 2014, the VAT authorities requested a limited number of FAIA files from selected businesses as they were in testing mode. Beginning of 2015, those requests become widespread. Businesses which are in the scope of these new requirements must now consider them as a matter of priority. Please take note that the FAIA may be requested to verify VAT returns relating to 2011 and following years. The applicability of the rules to your company / companies may change from one year to another (e.g. the periodicity of the filing is one of the criteria).
PwC Luxembourg has brought together a dedicated team of accounting, IT and VAT experts to help you understand your obligations in respect of FAIA and implement the new requirements. Our assistance is always customised to your specific needs and consists of the following services, which we may provide separately:
Partner, Indirect Tax services
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