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Feature Requests Incident #20135
I had a closer look at the VAT status and opened some specific issues for some of the things that appear to be most pressing. I can't find any way to link bug reports in this issue tracker so I am just posting the links here:
http://www.xtuple.org/xtincident/view/features/21575 support for EU cross-border VAT free transactions
http://www.xtuple.org/xtincident/view/features/21579 specify tax codes in chart of accounts
These two can probably be merged, 23668 is the more detailed description of the problem:
http://www.xtuple.org/xtincident/view/bugs/23692 no VAT support in cash receipt form
http://www.xtuple.org/xtincident/view/bugs/23694 can't specify VAT on misc cheque
http://www.xtuple.org/xtincident/view/bugs/23696 can't override tax amount manually
There is a common theme behind several of these issues: businesses in the UK, Australia, etc have to account for VAT on every purchase as well as every sale. For some types of service business there are many of these relatively small expenses like the phone bills, internet charges, office supplies, domain name renewals, SSL certificates, professional fees, contractors performing odd jobs and there is a VAT charge on every one of those vouchers. The EnhancedTaxInternationalization appears to have done most of the groundwork for this but unless people can benefit from that when entering all these little expenses through the misc voucher form (and preferably the misc cheque form too) then they may not appreciate the fact that xTuple supports VAT.
I suspect that other users will be willing to chip in with tweaks for these reports to help perfect them. This could potentially be done by sharing localization data through github
To maximize the potential for community involvement, xTuple probably needs to define some standard way to create, distribute and import the localization profiles.
E.g. should the localization rules be defined in an XML document for each region? Or in a tar.gz file like the schema update packs?
Does PostBooks need some kind of import utility (maybe built in to the desktop client) that can load the localization pack as a whole? Or should it be more generalized, e.g. an import mechanism that allows objects such as tax codes, tax zones, invoice layouts to be imported and exported in bulk and then a wrapper around this mechanism could bundle the settings for a localization?
Furthermore, a first-class import tool would probably need to run each object import through the same process as the GUI forms. E.g. if somebody imports an invoice from an import file, the import tool would act as if they inserted the values into the invoice form and automatically do things like assigning tax codes and generating the sequence number and anything else that wasn't manually overridden or specified in the import file.
One further thing that would need to be anticipated is the lifecycle management for localization: could localization changes (e.g. to cope with tax rate changes) be conveniently updated for users on multiple PostBooks versions? Using a suitably generic data format and import tool from the outset would avoid tedious effort backporting changes to users who are not upgrading every time a new version is released. E.g. the tool would import the current list of tax codes, but it would be clever enough not to import duplicates if the user had already manually added a new tax code.
One problem that is probably too hard to solve is supporting users who significantly customize. E.g. if somebody takes the localized invoice for their region and makes basic changes (adding their logo), it would be nice to be able to upgrade the layout cleanly when necessary. However, if they make more dramatic modifications, they should become responsible for updating it if and when rule changes occur.
To help define the objectives of this feature, there are basically two things that come to mind for most VAT users:
a) correctly printing invoices that charge VAT to customers - PostBooks appears to be capable of this since the enhanced tax code support was added, but each user has to customise their setup to benefit from it. Enhancing this would basically mean providing some way to import the correct tax codes and invoice layout rules for a particular country/region. This FAQ concisely summarizes the exact EU invoice requirements, which covers the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and many others:
Just some observations on some of the points in that list:
(11) break-down of the VAT amount payable per VAT rate or exemption - this is usually displayed in a summary box on the invoice.
(12) unit price of the goods or services exclusive of tax, discounts or rebates (unless included in the unit price) - PostBooks appears to work this way by default, displaying ex-tax unit prices on each line.
b) the other major outcome of this feature, for most businesses, is to quickly prepare their VAT return document. Small businesses do this quarterly or monthly. Competing products provide the VAT return as a standard report, conveniently labelled with the box numbers. Here is an example of the UK VAT return:
This was suggested on 3/22/2013 and commented on under the kickstart project.
VAT support should be identical for most European countries and appeal to many users
Expanded VAT localization - forms for UK, EU, CA, AU
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|04/22/13 15:38||schurch||Characteristic Kickstart Added: "True"|
|04/23/13 09:24||ptyler||Status||Status Changed: New -> Confirmed|
|04/21/13 14:28||dcsint||New||Incident Added|
|06/28/13 16:09||ned||Description Updated: "VAT support should b..." -> "VAT support should b..."|
|07/01/13 15:16||jrogelstad||Characteristic Time Estimate Added: "???"|
|09/30/13 09:48||bcwilson||Contact Changed: "Daniel Pocock" -> "Daniel Pocock"|