As a taxpayer you are obliged to archive the data recorded by your POS software or cash register system. Are you wondering what this legal requirement is and how to implement it? fiskaltrust goes into detail about what the law requires and explains how to comply with the current legislation.

The archive according to the law

The purpose of the archive according to the law is to fix the storage of data at a given time.

  • The law requires that the archiving procedure be carried out via a technical device that guarantees the integrity of the archive produced over time. This technical device must also ensure that the archive produced is exactly the same as the original data from which it is created.
  • The law gives you the choice of keeping the records in the cash register software or system or, if your system offers a purging procedure, to keep the records outside the software or cash register system. The law gives some examples of external physical media: USB stick, optical disk or external hard disk.
  • The chosen archive medium must be secure. The law does not impose any technical solution to ensure this security, but specifies that the archive medium must allow the integrity of the archived data to be guaranteed and their availability in the event of an audit.
  • The law specifies additionally that you can call on a third-party archiver, who will provide the conservation of your archives.
  • The data in the archive must be easily readable by the authorities in the event of an inspection, even if you have changed your software or cash register system. To this end, the law requires that the archive data be stored in an open format. Again, some examples are given, such as txt, csv or xml files.
  • Each generation of the archive must be traced by the software or cash register system in a reliable way. Also, the traceability data of the purging and archiving procedure must be kept.
  • The law does not impose any periodicity to the generation of an archive, but specifies that an archive cannot contain more than one year of data (365 days) based on a calendar year or a financial year. 
  • The publisher of your software or cash register system must provide a function allowing you to generate archive files. However, you are obliged to keep the archived data for the legal period of 7 years (6 years plus the current year).

Implementing the legal obligations of the tax archive yourself

Beware, if you thought it was enough to simply save (export) data from time to time on a USB stick. Legislation makes a clear distinction between data backup and data archiving. Indeed, a backup is only a set of data exported at a given time that allows you to restore your system in case of failure. This should not be confused with archiving as described above.

If you want to create the archives yourself, you must start by choosing a storage medium. The archives can be stored locally on your system or on an external medium (USB key, hard disk, etc.).

Here, too, there is a built-in stumbling block:

Can the medium technically store the data for the entire period? Commercially available CD-ROMs guarantee between three and five years.

What happens if the small USB stick is lost? You are solely responsible for ensuring that the archives are available for the entire period.

You will then need to develop a secure archiving procedure. That is to say, allowing you to fix the data at a certain date and to make it inalterable. For this procedure, keep in mind that the archives must not be in a proprietary format. The archives must be readable by the tax authorities at any time without special software. As the content has not been standardised, you will need to create specific documentation for the tax authorities containing a detailed explanation of the data in the archive.

Here, too, there is a hidden problem that you should not ignore: As soon as data is clearly readable, it can easily be changed by anyone. How do you ensure that the data remains unchanged for at least 7 years or that the changes are recognised?

You will also need to ensure that each archive generation is reliably traced. Here again, some development is required to create a dedicated log in your system and to chain and secure it.

Once your archiving procedure and the traceability of the generation of archives have been defined, you will need to secure the storage medium chosen. For example, if you choose to store your archives on a USB key, you must ensure that it is available at all times for 7 years so that you can hand it over to the auditor in the event of a tax audit. Also, you will need to provide the auditor with a tool to verify the integrity of the records contained on the USB stick. In other words, a means of checking that the archives contained on the key are identical to the original data and that they have not been modified in any way. Here again, a little development is required.

Creating and storing your company’s tax records yourself is possible but laborious! Of course, you can store the archive on an external hard drive, a USB stick or in the point of sale system itself. But what happens if the storage medium is lost or damaged? What do you do if your POS system stops working? It’s a disaster when the tax audit comes around because you can no longer provide the required evidence. Also, as explained above, the archive is not just about keeping data. How will you justify to the auditor that the data has not been modified?

To summarise again briefly: The PosOperator needs a cash archive from you that is created in an open format (readable at any time). Which must be kept for at least seven years and makes any change impossible or at least traceable. In addition, you must create documentation of the archive and also provide an audit software in French. And also the documentation and the tool must be available and functioning for these seven years. This can be an insurmountable hurdle in the development of POS systems.

Rest assured! fiskaltrust has the solution you need.

Make your life easier with the fiskaltrust.ArchiveAuditable

fiskaltrust stands for cash register security. However, we do not only guarantee the immutability of data and the traceability of receipts. Archiving is also of paramount importance to fiskaltrust! We are aware of the French security regulations for cash registers and the need to comply with them.

Of course, we support our partners with fiskaltrust.Middleware to ensure that cash register systems comply with the law. This is done with the minimum impact on the daily business, so that every user can concentrate on his sales without having to worry about the law. With this in mind, fiskaltrust.Middleware goes one step further to provide you with a reliable and audit-proof archive.

Thus, fiskaltrust.Middleware provides an archive, fiskaltrust.ArchiveAuditable, based on the ISCA principles that underpin the law:

  • Unalterability
  • Security
  • Retention (data storage)
  • Archiving

With our fiskaltrust.ArchiveAuditable all grand totals are fixed for a given period of your choice (maximum one year). An archive-specific receipt is created independently, then chained, hashed, signed, and finally stored in a log. The archive document contains all these totals counters and cannot be modified. In addition, a file containing all receipt data for the archive period is provided.

Thus, as soon as you create an archive via your POS system, an archive is also created in the fiskaltrust.Cloud. You can then retrieve these archives quickly and at any time via the fiskaltrust.Portal. And this for 6 years plus the current year.

A tax archive cannot be more secure than in a storage place to which you have read-only access! Because in this way it is absolutely impossible to make changes. And a cash audit cannot be more convenient: you log in to the portal and load the cash certificate and the archive onto a USB stick, which you then hand over to the auditor.

Of course, the data is in a neutral format so that the auditor can easily read it. And fiskaltrust has provided a specific guide for the tax authorities to facilitate the audit and describe in detail the archives created by the fiskaltrust.Middleware. To make the auditors’ work as easy as possible, fiskaltrust has also developed an independent tool to check the integrity of the archives and to detect if any changes have been made to the original data.

Also, in case you don’t remember how the fiskaltrust.Archive works in all the hustle and bustle of tax auditing, we have also created a step-by-step guide for you in the fiskaltrust.Portal.

It’s security and convenience taken to the extreme! Free your mind today and contact one of our experts to set up the fiskaltrust.ArchiveAuditable.