E-report - who signs it and how?
Each entity participating in the economic market is obliged to keep records of its financial situation. This documentation can take various forms. In the case of entities that keep full accounting, it is a financial statement. They are prepared at the end of each financial year in order to close the books of accounts. Currently, the only form of submitting a report is the so-called e-report, i.e. a document drawn up in a strictly defined form and delivered to the competent authority by electronic means.
Following on from the EU legislator, annual financial statements enhance corporate governance, provide insight into transactions and provide investors in capital markets with the information they want about the subject of the report. These reports should be prepared in accordance with the precautionary principle, in a true and fair manner. Therefore, the legislator decided that the e-financial report will be the guarantor of compliance with the above principles.
What is an e-report?
A financial statement, to put it simply, is a document showing the financial situation of an enterprise expressed in money. It must be prepared in accordance with the principles and form established by accounting standards. These standards are mostly included in the Accounting Act.
From 2018, there is an order to prepare and send reports in the form of the Standard Audit File. It is not possible to deliver financial statements and other documents related to financial approval in a traditional - paper form. The standards for e-financial statements are defined by the Ministry of Finance. You can get acquainted with them via the government website: https://www.gov.pl/web/kas/struktury-e-sprawozdan.
In line with the above guidelines, the e-report consists of three main parts:
balance sheet - the balance of assets and liabilities at the end of the current and previous financial year;
profit and loss account - separate lists of revenues, costs, profit and loss for the current and previous tax year;
additional information including, inter alia the principles of the adopted accounting policy in the company.
Where should the e-report be submitted?
The authority to which the e-report should be submitted depends on the form of business activity:
companies entered in the National Court Register - submit reports to the National Court Register;
other companies and other units - submit a report to the National Court Administration (KAS).
Correct submission of the e-financial report requires the attachment of attachments in the form of a resolution approving the report and a resolution on profit and loss coverage. In some situations, other documents will also be required, such as an auditor's opinion. In the case of the report of entities entered in the National Court Register, the report should be prepared in the XSD (XML Schema Definition) - (JPK_SF) format. Any other format (e.g. PDF or e-mail) is unacceptable and will mean failure to meet the deadline for submitting documents to the National Court Register.
Deadline for submitting the e-report for 2020
Pursuant to Art. 52 of the Accounting Act, the financial statements should be prepared no later than 3 months from the end of the tax year. However, their approval should take place no later than 6 months from the balance sheet date. For entities for which the tax year coincides with the calendar year, it will be March 31 and June 30, respectively.
Therefore, e-reports should be submitted in the case of:
entities entered in the National Court Register - within 15 days from the approval of the report;
income tax payers - the report is submitted at the time of submitting the annual tax return;
taxpayers of corporate income tax not entered into the National Court Register, who are required to prepare financial statements - within 10 days from the date of approval of the report.
On March 22, 2021, government information appeared that due to the current epidemic situation, the deadlines for submitting e-financial statements were extended
o 3 months - for private sector entities and non-profit organizations;
o 1 month - for units of the public finance sector.
Which companies are required to prepare an e-report?
All entities that keep full books of accounts are required to prepare financial statements (currently e-reports). The form of business and whether full accounting is a result of a statutory obligation or a voluntary choice is irrelevant.
Who in the entity is responsible for the preparation of the e-report?
The provision of art. 52 of the Accounting Act, the obligation to prepare financial statements is imposed on the entity's manager. Pursuant to this act, the head of the entity is a person or management board that is authorized to manage the entity in accordance with the applicable legal regulations, statute, contract or ownership right. This may be a partner, board member, liquidator or receiver, respectively.
The head of the unit is responsible for creating the necessary organizational conditions for the preparation of the financial statements within the statutory deadline. However, this responsibility does not mean that the manager has to prepare the report in person.
Who signs the e-report?
The electronic financial report is signed by:
head of the unit;
the person entrusted with the books of accounts (chief accountant or accounting office). This person should be specified in the organizational regulations of the unit.
If the entity has a management board consisting of more than one person, the report is signed by all its members. Additionally, if the entity's books of account are kept by an accounting office, the report should be signed by the person actually keeping the accounts, not by the manager (owner) of the office. Failure to fulfill the obligation by the head of the entity is sanctioned with a fine or imprisonment for up to 2 years. Penalties can be combined. Importantly, the doctrine took the position that signing the financial statements is tantamount to acknowledging responsibility for the performance of accounting obligations. Therefore, if a person who has not acted as a manager or chief accountant throughout the reporting period does not feel capable of taking this responsibility, he may refuse to sign the report, stating the reason for the refusal in a written justification. Start a free 30-day trial period with no strings attached!
How to sign an e-report?
As it has already been mentioned, only the electronic form is valid for submitting financial statements. Naturally, the e-report should therefore be signed with an electronic signature. Pursuant to Art. 45 point 1f of the Accounting Act, three ways of signing are allowed, i.e .:
signature confirmed with ePUAP trusted profile;
electronic personal signature.
The electronic signature is a tool enabling the identification of entities sending documents by electronic means. This signature is equivalent to a handwritten signature. There is also a qualified electronic signature by means of a qualified electronic signature creation device with special certification. The eligible variant is payable and its validity lasts a maximum of 2 years (may be extended for a fee). Electronic signature can be used to handle both official and commercial matters.
The signature confirmed by the trusted ePUAP profile is a signature confirming the identity assigned to a specific PESEL number. This signature may be used only in correspondence with offices. Trusted profile is free and valid for 3 years. After this time, you can extend its validity free of charge.
Electronic personal signature is a new form of authorization of official documents. The Accounting Act introduced the possibility of using it in 2019. A digital personal signature is created using an e-ID. The e-ID is a physical identity document in the chip of which a unique certificate of the e-ID owner is implemented. The submission of an electronic personal signature on the e-report requires the use of an e-ID reader.
2020 e-report - summary
As we can see, this year has not brought a revolution. This can be called evolution, that is, the adaptation of bureaucracy to developing technologies. Instead of a pile of papers, manual completion, drawing, correcting, filling in forms from scratch, just sit down to the computer and enter the correct data.
However, these are not big changes. Only the format of submitting reports has been modified - from paper to electronic. Everything else has remained the same, from the structure of the report to the people responsible for it to the statutory deadlines.