Dual-use software ban: what Law 11/2021 implies for accounting software

As of 11 October 2021, the ban on dual-use software will enter into force within the framework of Law 11/2021 on the prevention of tax fraud

Law 11/2021 on fraud prevention establishes a new specific sanctioning framework for the manufacture, marketing and possession of systems and software that allow accounting and management information to be modified and manipulated . This new tax offence for digital solutions that support accounting, invoicing or management processes could affect hundreds of self-employed and SMEs in Spain, which in case of non-compliance would face fines of up to 50,000 euros .

The Treasury estimates that the use by companies of computer programmes that manipulate accounting records represents a loss to the public coffers of some 200,000 million euros. With the aim of putting an end to these and other fraudulent practices that affect tax collection, Law 11/2021 was approved last July with a progressive entry into force. On 11 October 2021 , paragraphs 4 and 21 of article thirteen, which regulate the use of accounting software with the prohibition of dual-use software, will come into force.

This law establishes a new tax offence typified as the manufacture, production and marketing of computer systems and software that allow the manipulation of accounting. With this type of software some companies modify their books of accounts in order to avoid paying taxes. In addition to the express prohibition on the use of such software, accounting software must ensure the integrity, preservation, traceability and unalterability of transaction records . In other words, they will have to comply with certain technical specifications and obtain certifications to ensure compliance with the new legal framework.

Fines for freelancers and entrepreneurs would range from 1,000 euros for the possession of this type of dual-use software to 50,000 euros per year of use. The tax authorities will establish a more effective monitoring system for this type of software and will establish mandatory certifications.

On dual-use software

Dual-use software are those computer programmes that allow the manipulation of the accounting of the business. In other words, they allow certain charges to be concealed, thus reducing the company's tax bill. The prohibition of dual-use software is intended to update the legislation on digital bookkeeping, which has traditionally been manual.

Digital accounting solution to comply with new legislation

Companies must ensure compliance with the new law through an accounting management or digital invoicing system that meets the technical requirements and certifications requested by the Tax Agency. In other words, it must ensure the integrity, traceability and unalterability of accounting data .

Microsoft's online ERP, Business Central , does not allow you to delete or change accounting records without leaving a trace. In the system, everything related to accounting and records leaves a trace. And even for those fields that do not involve an accounting record and can therefore be deleted or changed, control can be established via the change log.

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