System updates in preparation for French fiscalization

According to Article 88 of French Law No. 2015-1785 and BOI-TVS-DECLA-30-10-30-2016803, French properties must use cash register systems meeting the conditions of data inalterability, security, retention, and archival in preparation of tax authority control.

There are several ways to receive certification in regards to the law above. For our certification, Mews has chosen the LNE Certification of Cash Register Systems, which is equivalent to the most well-known certification of this type, the NF525.

When it comes to certification, every system is different and must employ solutions that are specific to their particular software. The details of these conditions and Mews’ solutions are described below.

Retention condition

According to the retention condition:

  • Any system that records payment data must provide a closing. This closing must be made at the end of a period which is at least annual or by financial year (Condition 14).
  • The system must also allow daily and monthly closing (Condition 15).
  • For each closing, cumulative and summary data must be calculated by the system, such as the cumulative total of the period and the perpetual total for the accounting period (Condition 16).
  • The retention requirement applies to all data recorded on a line-by-line basis, as well as cumulative and summary data calculated by the system (Condition 17).
  • Retention is either made online (i.e., in the software or system) or in an archive in compliance with Archiving Conditions 22-30 (Condition 18).
  • As payment data is used in company accounts, it must be retained for six years (Condition 19).

In compliance with Conditions 14-18, the Fiscal Record Report in Commander has been updated to include fiscal record snapshots, which are automatically generated by the system at closing (of a bill or period, including daily, monthly, and annually). The fiscal record snapshots include cumulative and summary data, as well as data recorded on a line-by-line basis (individual accounting items), that is pulled directly from closed bills and invoices.

There are multiple types of snapshots, each of which is issued at different times and for different reasons:

  • A bill snapshot is automatically generated when a bill is closed. It contains all accounting items from that bill.
  • A daily snapshot is automatically generated at 12:00 AM each day. It contains all accounting items from bills closed during the previous day.
  • A monthly snapshot is automatically generated at 12:00 AM on the first of each month. It contains all accounting items from bills closed during the previous month.
  • A yearly snapshot is automatically generated at 12:00 AM on the first day of each year. It contains all accounting items from the previous year.
  • A fiscal year snapshot is automatically generated at 12:00 AM on the first day of the fiscal year. It contains all accounting items from the previous fiscal year. If your property’s fiscal year does not correspond to the calendar year, you can set it up in your accounting configuration.

Snapshots are retained both online and in ZIP archives, in compliance with Archiving Conditions 22-30.

Inalterability condition

According to the inalterability condition:

  • The system must record all original data relating to payments (Condition 5).
  • The system must retain this original, recorded data and render it inalterable (Condition 6).
  • If corrections are made to revenue operations, such corrections (changes or cancellations) are made by “plus” or “minus” operations and not by directly changing the original, recorded data. These correction operations should also be recorded (Condition 7).
  • The system must allow the tax authorities to access the original, recorded data, as well as the dated (year, month, day, hour, or minute) list of operations and corrections made when this data has been corrected (Condition 8).
  • Corrections and cancellations are subject to the following accounting principles: the intangible nature or irreversibility of accounting entries; the procedure for the periodical closing of chronological recordings; and the permanence of the audit trail (Condition 9).
  • To comply with the inalterability condition, the integrity of all recorded data must be guaranteed over time by a reliable technical process (Condition 10).

In accordance with Conditions 5 and 6, users cannot modify any existing accounting items in Commander. To fully meet these conditions, we have extended this functionality to include items on open bills. When a user cancels an item that has been posted to an open bill, the system automatically generates a rebate for that item. When a rebate is posted for a cancellation or correction, it matches the value of the original (positive) accounting item in the equal but opposite (negative) value, in accordance with Condition 7.

To ensure that tax authorities have access to all data regarding payments, including original data and rebate data, fiscal record snapshots can be accessed by your property or by Mews through the Fiscal Record Report (Condition 8, 9). In addition, bills and invoice also include a print count, which counts the number of times a bill or invoice has been physically printed or issued electronically (PDF)—providing tax authorities with a list of operations regarding payments and ensuring that employees are always providing guests with their specific bill.

Snapshots also include a SIG file containing a PGP signature. With this signature, Mews can reliably guarantee the integrity of all recorded data because the PGP signature includes the date and time on which the snapshot was created and is inalterable (Condition 10).

Check out our video for a demonstration on how Mews complies with the Inaliterability Condition.

Security condition

According to the security condition:

  • The system must secure original data, modified data that has been recorded, and data allowing supporting documents to be issued (Condition 11).
  • This security can be ensured by an reliable, technical process, of such a nature as to guarantee the provision of payment data as originally recorded (Condition 12).

Commander is a cloud-based web application, hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform. Our infrastructure is completely secured by Microsoft; we are secure by design because Commander is hosted in the cloud, rather than an on-property, physical server.

Mews also uses Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which means that all communications between your browser and Commander are encrypted for greater protection.

Additionally, all snapshot files are stored in Microsoft Azure Immutable Blob storage, which guarantees that they cannot be modified or deleted once created (Condition 11, 12).

Archiving condition

According to the archiving condition:

  • The system must allow recorded data to be archived at a selected frequency, at most annually or by financial year (Condition 22).
  • The archiving procedure is intended to log data and provide a specific date for archived documents (Condition 23).
  • The archiving procedure must provide for a technical device guaranteeing the integrity of the archives produced over time and their compliance with the original payment data from which they were created (Condition 24).
  • Archives may be retained in the system itself or off-system when a purge procedure exists (Condition 25).
  • The archives should be easy to read by the authorities in case of an audit, even when the company has changed to a different system (Condition 26).
  • The system must provide for archiving operation traceability using a reliable process (Condition 27).
  • Beyond the frequency selected and at most annual or by financial year, the system can provide for a payment data purging procedure (Condition 28).
  • A complete archive must be produced on a secure, physical, external device (Condition 29).

As previously stated, all snapshots are automatically generated and archived in ZIP archives either daily, monthly, annually (or by fiscal year), or when a bill is closed; you cannot archive more than one year of data in one file (Condition 22). All data files in a snapshot have the period defined, and the PGP signature includes the date and time on which the snapshot was created (Condition 23). With this signature, Mews can reliably guarantee the integrity of all archived data (Condition 24).

Mews does not have a purge procedure in place, but all snapshots are stored in the Microsoft Azure Immutable Blob storage and cannot be deleted (Condition 25, 29). Data is listed in each snapshot on a line-by-line basis, as specified by LNE, ensuring that it is clear and easy to read (Condition 26).

In accordance with Condition 27, the archiving operation is traceable through the Fiscal Record Report, where all automatically generated snapshots are listed and can be downloaded.

In case of an audit

In case of an audit by a tax authority, we recommend to do the following:

  1. Contact Mews support to get the latest guide for tax authorities, which includes information about how to navigate through the system to obtain all data required by the French law.
  2. Provide the auditor with access to the system. We recommend that you create a new employee profile with non-admin privileges so that the auditor is not able to change the settings of your system by accident. Obviously, you could share your account with the auditor, but sharing your credentials with anyone is strongly discouraged due to security reasons.
  3. Go to Main menu > Settings > Property > Accounting configuration. At the bottom of the page, you will find the current version number of the fiscalization module that Mews is using, which the auditor will need to know.

Primarily, the auditor should be looking for the following reports or data:

  • Fiscal Record Report
  • Bills and Invoices Report
  • Individual bills