Headlines, PublicNet: 17 July, 1997

Approval by Customs and Excise of payment card VAT accounting arrangements is a major step towards electronic government services. AMEX and VISA can now offer suppliers a system that produces an electronic file containing as much detail as a paper invoice. This eliminates a whole chain of paperwork. Development work started two years ago and trials in the last three months have convinced Customs that the system is reliable.Customs were concerned that there is a clearly identifiable audit trail. The trial has demonstrated that the data provided in the electronic file will provide a trail through which it will be possible to verify that the correct amount of VAT has been calculated and accounted for. Initially there were also doubts about transactions where more than one bank is involved.

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