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During tax audits of computerized accounts, companies must respond to specific requests from the administration, but some of them are ill-prepared. What are the risks in case of non-compliance? And how to fix it?

What is this?

The tax control of computerized accounts results in the intervention of a computer auditor alongside the general auditor. It covers all the data and processing used to establish the accounting and tax results. Two main missions: to verify the reliability of computer data and to allow retrospective processing to verify the correct application of tax rules. Today, IT control accounts for one out of three controls, and around 30% of the elements are notified.

The procedure

The administration has developed software, Alto, and AltoWeb, its version for the Internet. The latter is used by the auditor general and not by an IT auditor. However, oral and contradictory dialogue must remain the cornerstone of control and must not distort the procedure. Optional today, this control will undoubtedly become mandatory in the long term.

The taxes concerned

VAT and the control of corporation tax, in particular the control of provisions, are the main lines of investigation of the administration. There is a very strong interaction between the control of transfer prices and the control of computerized accounts. What we can remember is that no tax is spared by the tax audit of computerized accounts.

The risks

In extreme cases, the risk is the rejection of accounts, or even opposition to a tax audit, with very significant penalties since they can range from 40% to 100% of the amounts adjusted. In practice, cases of accounting rejection are rare. The administration does not have, for the moment, tools to modulate the sanctions. In cases of non-compliance, it is a means of pressure for the administration in the process of negotiating the tax audit. And that can put the company in trouble. When the administration makes a call to order in writing as part of the recovery notification, it is important for the company to react.

How to prepare well?

Businesses need to take three key actions.
The first is to set up a multidisciplinary team and appoint a project manager, whether before or during the tax audit.
The second action is to include computer accounting compliance in the Cooperative Production Company (SCOP) and in the scope of internal control and to carry out regular compliance audits.
The third element, which is essential, is to keep in mind all the constraints linked to the control of computerized accounts on the occasion of restructuring, for example, but also on the occasion of any system change and to include it in the Specifications.

Société d’Avocats DAMY, Nice, Company tax law – control of computerized accounts, Update 2022