Archive for the ‘Sunsystems and Vision’ category

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 -OUT OF SUPPORT today

July 13th, 2019

SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, both of these versions of SQL server go out of extended support with Microsoft today 9th July 2019

Many companies and businesses are still SQL Server 2008 R2 and below. There can be a number of reasons for this, maybe the applications the databases support require an older version of SQL Server, maybe the applications are also coming to the end of life, but the end dates do not match up with the data platform end of support dates.

Sometimes applications are critical to the business and everything works just fine. The business doesn’t want to disrupt the application or introduce any risk by performing a migration to a new version so why change it?

In this situation your data platform is out of support completely. Out of support system attract hackers. Note the previous articles about fines for loss of privacy data to realise how serious this can be

So you should be making plans to migrate your legacy SQL Servers off the unsupported versions. It is likely if you are still on an old database that you are also on an old server and on an old version of Windows. That gives additional risk of failed hard disks, other system vulnerabilities – Meltdown, Spectre? Phishing…….
Investors and insurers are not likely to be sympathetic in such circumstances.

There are many performance and security benefits of upgrade.

If you decide to run on out support software and take the risk associated with running on out of support software. The main advantage of this approach is there is nothing immediate to do. The longer you run on the platform the greater the chances of you encountering a security vulnerability or failing a compliance test.
If anything does go wrong you’ll have no support from Microsoft.
Other software vendors support contracts may also require that you be on a currently supported database

Modernise and upgrade is one of the options that you have available.

You can upgrade your on premises SQL Server or migrate the databases to Azure either as IaaS solution where you run the VM in Azure or even the PaaS Azure SQL database offering

There are number of advantages to upgrading your data platform. You’ll be running your database workloads on an in support data platform, with a long support window. There will likely by new features in the latest and greatest version of SQL Server that you can use to add business value to your application – Availability Groups for example. Also you will likely find people with skills in the later technology, those skills will be more readily available in the jobs market.

There will likely be a different licensing model – the licensing model changed between SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012 – it possible you will have to pay more for you SQL Server licences.

The third option is instead of doing nothing you pay for a custom support agreement. The main advantage here is you can continue to get security updates and therefore potentially remaining compliant. The main disadvantage of this approach is the cost involved, which is typically 75% of the full license costs of the latest version of SQL Server and Windows Server.

Migrate workload to Azure. Microsoft allow SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server R2 VMs running in Azure to have the security updates for free for a further 3 years. So you can migrate your database server to azure and continue to get security updates for free until 2022.

The main advantage of this is you get to keep running the same version of the OS and Data platform, the security updates are free so the cost is minimal \. The disadvantages is you would need to move off premises, if this is not an option for you then you can’t exercise this option and there will still be work in involved in ‘lifting and shifting’ the VM to the cloud.

Whatever you do when support ends for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 have a plan

Oman and VAT – Ask Synergy Software Systems to help prepare and update your systems

June 30th, 2019

Oman government representatives have said that the state is looking to implement a 5% VAT regime from 1 September 2019. In 2017,
it signed the Gulf Cooperation Council VAT Framework Agreement, which included: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. Local media reports in March 2019 quoted a senior official from Oman’s Ministry of Finance as saying that the date of implementation of VAT in Oman is under review. The official reportedly indicated that the target date had been 1 September 2019 but that this is not confirmed, although the intention clearly remains to implement VAT as early as possible. Businesses should take this as a cue to continue their VAT implementation plans in Oman, or restart and reinvigorate those if the work has been put on hold.

A key lesson from our experience of VAT implementation projects in UAE, KSA and Bahrain, across more than 100 companies is that companies that started their VAT planning and implementation projects early had a smoother transition to VAT, than those that waited for the final publication of the domestic law and regulations. A ‘wait and see’ approach backfired on many businesses in the UAE, KSA and Bahrain where there was minimal time between the release of the law and regulations and the go-live date for adequate training, data preparation and testing, and a shortage of resources in the market to cope with the backlog.

There are practical steps to take now. the first is to form an internal VAT working group of key stakeholders to monitor developments in VAT and ensure that VAT is on the Board agenda and is included in budget discussions. The working group will be best placed to negotiate professional services to support implementation, to train end users, and to define test scenarios, etc.

Next ensure there is VAT awareness is key – customers, vendors, and staff. Many in the region have never dealt with VAT, and a solid understanding of the mechanics, scope and terminology of the tax takes time, and that is a necessary foundation for the next steps.

Document your transaction flows . VAT is a transaction tax, with each transaction triggering a potential VAT consequence. This will help you to identify: software changes, processes to update, training needs, data collection needs, commercial document redesign, financial report redesign etc.

Review Contract to ensure they are ‘future proofed’ for the introduction of VAT. For example, to identify whether they include suitable clauses allowing VAT to be charged in addition to contractually agreed prices. The UAE VAT law clearly mandated that communication be sent to all customers within a specific timeline stipulating whether their contracts will be treated as exclusive of tax, failing which customers can dispute the tax being charged in the contract. Therefore, revisiting contractual obligations for both customers and vendors and determining cutover dates, incorporating tax clauses and revising prices and quotations will play a pivotal role to safeguard the business interests of all parties to a contract.

There will be transactions which are closed before the go-live date, and there will be instances where payment is received post the go-live date or where the supply is scheduled post the go-live date, but where the relevant invoices are paid prior to it. Failure to assess and communicate/agree on the VAT impact between all parties to the transaction on such spillover transactions might increase the cost of such transactions and either of the parties may be out of pocket in such scenarios, and there may be unwelcome friction with trading partners, if not managed.

IT infrastructure will be the ‘backbone’ of the VAT compliance function from issuing VAT compliant invoices to producing the VAT return.

Identify VAT resource requirements, particularly external consultants and auditors. Skilled VAT resources are drawn from a diminishing pool of individuals. Take advantage of the experience gained by service providers implementing in Dubai, KSA and Bahrain. There are many wrinkles, not immediately obvious.

Industry associations can raise common issues and concerns with the Ministry of Finance, particularly in advance of the formal publication of the VAT law.

While you can choose to defer VAT implementation be ready to demonstrate to your owners/investors/respective boards and shareholders, that you have done so only after undertaking an appropriate level of due diligence of the likely preparation of the VAT environment. Some key areas include:

Upgrades to ERP systems and user acceptance testing Reporting
Timely VAT registration, (company by company or at Group level?)
Timely Collection of Tax registration numbers for Trading partners
Timely returns, accrual and and payment of taxes
Scoping the need for professional service and selection/references, time for reaching agreement with partners.
Unforeseen penalties
Cash flow management – how will this change? the delayed inflow on account of receipts from customers; outflow after the discharge of tax liabilities on supplies without consideration/deemed supplies (if any); outflow on account of payment to vendors; and additional outflow due to the payment of taxes (net of input tax recoverable) to tax authorities.

Tracking changes in law/ public clarifications

Some businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia faced challenges when ERP systems were not implemented in time to capture VAT on transactions or to generate customised VAT payable or receivable reports. The first quarter of the respective VAT regimes required substantial manual effort to properly account for transactions.

Another hurdle was training staff on the upgraded ERP software as well as new reporting standards

In a test system for financial or erp system, for training and requirement scope you could get early familiarity with the Dubai or KSA framework – there are unlikely to be major changes in the Oman framework.

If you current system is largely manual, or has significant limitations then now be the time to plan for upgrade, or reimplementation or a new system. The UAE VAT law has a penalty provision whereby every incorrect invoice can trigger an AED 5,000 fine (approx. OMR 500), irrespective of the value of the invoice. Exposure to these fines can be significant in industries where high volumes of transactions are made per day, for example the retail, utilities and banking industries. Compliance depends on a robust system and operations preparedness. The audit trail of the process, and other documents, help to ensure correct and timely filing of the returns as well as avoiding any unwarranted penalties.

Businesses across the globe tend to see a fall in demand where the display prices on products do not include VAT, specifically in the case of products which are price sensitive. The implementation of a new indirect tax law will have an impact on turnover and consumer preferences. Some prices ma need to be rounded up or down. You may need to show VAT separately, item by item on a receipt or invoice – is your software able to do that?

Given that the potential VAT rate in Oman may vary between 5 per cent, exempted, non-taxable and zero-rated, businesses should ascertain the price impact of VAT on imports which are recoverable and non-recoverable, final product pricing and alternative sourcing if imports are expensive, and vice versa.

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 – end of life July 9, 2019 -ask Synergy Software Systems

June 23rd, 2019

Microsoft has previously announced that SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 will reach end of life on July 9, 2019.

This means that in less than a month, Microsoft will no longer release regular security updates for the product.

There are several reasons this is important to you.
• Attacks against software products of all types are common and ongoing. With Microsoft SQL being such a prevalent platform, attacks against it are ubiquitous, and it’s important to keep your database platform up-to-date with the latest Microsoft security patches.
• Many compliance requirements dictate that you must be running currently supported software.
• As Microsoft drops support for a product, many third-party applications may also discontinue support for their products running on those platforms.

So, if you are still running SQL Server 2008/2008 R2, then what are your options?

1.Upgrade to a newer version of SQL.
SQL 2019 is in preview release as of this writing, so the current production version of SQL Server is 2017. Its end of life will be October 12, 2027.
Evaluate your applications and databases to make sure they are compatible e.g. Dynamic Ax 2012 is not supported beyond SQL 2016

Plan a migration for either on-premises or cloud. A move to an Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, will not require you to upgrade in the future. By choosing this option, you will also gain access to new features which have appeared in the latest SQL Server versions. However, it only offers subset of SQL features so you need to be sure it will support your application and use.

2.Migrate to Azure to receive three more years of Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2. If you need to stay on the same SQL code base for a bit longer, Microsoft will allow you to rehost your SQL 2008 environment in Azure and still provide you with security updates for an extended period. There is no extra cost for the extended updates beyond the standard Azure VM rates.

3.Purchase extended support. Microsoft allows customers with an active Enterprise Agreement and Software Assurance subscription to purchase and receive three years of Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2. The annual outlay for the updates is 75% of the full license cost.

4.The least desirable option is to stay where you are and pray. If circumstances prevent you from moving forward now, then at minimum you should:
• Recognize and account for the risk;
•Plan and budget for a transition as soon as possible;
•Re-evaluate your security and tighten it as much as possible.

Microsoft provides guidance for handling the end of support of SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 at https://www.microsoft.com/2008-eos.

Of course, Synergy is ready to help you to evaluate and to progress to the next level. 0097143365589

If you are running newer versions of SQL Server, then here are their End-of-Life dates.
•SQL Server 2012 – July 12, 2022
•SQL Server 2014 – July 9, 2024
•SQL Server 2016 – July 14, 2026
•SQL Server 2017 – October 12, 2027

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, support is coming to an end.

June 23rd, 2019

Sometimes lifecycles end because of age or workload and other times they expire due to vendor support.
In the case of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, Microsoft announced that Extended Support will end on January 14, 2020.

Microsoft provides: Mainstream Support, Extended Support, and Beyond End of Support.

Mainstream Support

Mainstream Support is Microsoft’s first phase of support and lasts five years. It includes the following benefits:
• Incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims)
• Security update support
• Ability to request non-security updates

Extended Support

The Extended Support phase follows Mainstream Support, and also lasts five years. The key features of Extended Support are:
• Paid support
• Security updates at no additional cost
• Ability to request non-security updates (available only via Unified Support, a new model of support that offers comprehensive support that covers your entire organization)
• Microsoft will not accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features during the Extended Support phase.

Beyond End of Support

The Beyond End of Support phase is the final phase of the product lifecycle and lasts for three years. Here are the key things to remember.
• Request to change product design and features are not available
• Security updates are available only with the purchase of the Extended Security Update Program for up to three years. This typically costs 75% of the on-premises license cost annually.
• Technical support is provided when you purchase Extended Security Updates and have an active support plan in place on the product that has moved beyond the Extended Support date.

Server 2008 and 2008R2 are moving out of the Extended Support phase on January 14, 2020. From that date on,
non-security updates will no longer be available,
security updates will be available only if you pay for the Extended Security Update Program,
and other vendors will diminish their support of this operating system version.
If you are not prepared, then this will leave your environment open to security holes, application instability, and support restrictions.
If you have not already planned for this then now is the time to get it into your budget for first thing next year.

Major SQL updates don’t skip – SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU7 and SQL Server 2017 CU 15

May 26th, 2019

This week, Microsoft released two major updates.

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU7 has multiple fixes including:

• Filtered index corruption
• Access violations in sys.dm_exec_query_statistics_xml, sys.dm_hadr_availability_replica_states, sys.availability_replicas, sys.dm_db_xtp_hash_index_stats, sys.fn_dump_dblog, sys.dm_db_xtp_checkpoint_files
(I.e. if you monitor your servers, which you should, then you should apply this CU to avoid problems caused by the monitoring tool’s queries)
• AG failover fails
• Incorrect query results on columnstore indexes, and also this

SQL Server 2017 CU 15 has even MORE fixes, read the full list. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4498951/cumulative-update-15-for-sql-server-2017

Note also, that from SQL Server 2017, the Analysis Services build version number and SQL Server Database Engine build version number do not match

There are some CUs you might be tempted to skip because they don’t affect you. These releases will affect a wide range of features and you should plan to apply these sooner than later.

Power BI update March – April 2019

March 21st, 2019

Microsoft launched the public preview of new Power BI workspace experiences in August 2018 to enable Power BI workspace admins:
• to use security groups to manage access to workspaces,
• to enable BI teams to create workspaces without needing to create an Office 365 Group,
• to provide granular workspace roles to make giving access to workspaces easier.

At the beginning of April 2019, the new workspace experiences. will reach General Availability (GA)

Usage metrics for new workspaces are rolling out this week
This capability is much requested by customers and works the same as it did for classic workspaces based on Office 365 Groups. It may take until late this week or next week to reach all commercial cloud customers.

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/update-on-the-new-workspace-experiences-preview-including-ga-timeline/

The March update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.2.47) includes an updated version of the Mashup Engine, which matches the one released as part of the Power BI Desktop March update.

This will ensure that the reports that you publish to the Power BI Service and refresh via the Gateway will go through the same query execution logic/runtime as in the latest Power BI Desktop version.

Happiness Day, Loneliness and Power BI

March 21st, 2019

At the annual Gartner BI Bake Off session at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Orlando, Florida the Power BI team featured this report which you can explore here:

Here are some insights and highlights from the report:
• The employment groups with the most happiness are employed and retired people followed closely by stay at home parents and students.
• The highest ratio of lonely to non-lonely people by age group is between 35 and 44 years old.
• For the countries in the dataset, the UK and the US have higher loneliness ratios (0.30 and 0.29 respectively) than Japan (0.10).

if you think Power BI might provide insights into your business, and need training or assistance with report modelling, or need to understand the different licence types, then contact us – 009714 3365589

SQL 2016 SP2 CU6 is released also SQL 2016 SP1 CU 14

March 21st, 2019

The good news is that Microsoft has fixed the “String or binary data would be truncated” error!
With KB#4468101 if you enable trace flag 460, the SQL Server will now tell you just what l is going to be truncated.
SP2 CU6 also includes other fixes like:
• Users are incorrectly permitted to create incremental stats on nonclustered indexes that aren’t aligned to the base table
• Assertion for parallel deletes from filestream tables
• Filestream IO can’t be enabled on cluster shared volumes
• Assertion for linked server queries that point to themselves during a cross-database transaction (as bad as it sounds)
• MDS database upgrade fails
• Filtered nonclustered columnstore index over a clustered columnstore index may not be maintained ( in layman’s term we call it corruption)
• Stack dump during change tracking cleanup
• Data masking (doesn’t)

Microsoft also released an 2016 SP1 CU14 but that doesn’t have the key#4468101 fix. .

Recent G.C.C VAT updates

February 16th, 2019

Passive interest and dividends
The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) asserted that passively earned interest income from bank deposits and dividend income are outside the scope of Value Added Tax (VAT), and there is no requirement to report these in the VAT return.
VAT is a tax imposed on the import and supply of goods and services at each stage of production and distribution, therefore, VAT implications arise only when there is a supply – when there is no supply, there is no VAT implication.
The FTA explained that the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT and its Executive Regulations have included specific provisions on what would constitute a supply of goods and a supply of services and also included a definition for taxable supplies. As such, where any transaction falls outside the scope of these provisions, it would, as a consequence, fall outside the scope of VAT.
The FTA also noted that although Article (42) of the Executive Regulations outlines the tax treatment of financial services, stating that the payment or collection of any amount of interest and dividend is considered to be a financial service and is therefore exempt from VAT, this would only apply where there is, in fact, a supply.
The Authority had issued the “VAT Public Clarification on Bank Interest and Dividends” as part of its Public Clarifications service, which are available on the FTA website and seek to educate taxpayers on all technical issues surrounding taxes, allowing them to implement the tax system efficiently.
In a press statement the Federal Tax Authority noted that if, for instance, a retail business deposits its income into a bank account and earns interest on the deposited amount, and the said retail business does not do anything to earn this income aside from merely depositing the money in the account, it can then be said that the interest was earned passively. In this case, the retail business is not considered to have made a supply to the bank, and the interest income received is not a consideration for a supply, which, in turn, means that the retail business is not required to declare this income on its VAT return, as it is outside the scope of VAT.
The Authority noted, however, that the above position only applies to interest derived from bank deposits and does not have any bearing on the interest generated from extending loans or credit, which are exempt supplies for VAT purposes.
Dividend income:
• The FTA explained that the payment of a dividend by a company is a distribution of its profits to its shareholders, where the holder of a share is not entitled to a dividend until the company has declared a dividend.
• Dividend income becomes due for shareholders in a company by the mere ownership of shares in that company and if the company makes any profits and declares dividends.
• The shareholder then receives the dividends and does not make any supply in order to be eligible for a payment of dividends, making the dividend a generally passive income.
• Accordingly, dividend income is outside the scope of VAT, and is therefore, not required to be reported on the VAT return. T
• he Authority noted, nonetheless, that while dividend income is generally outside the scope of VAT, any amount charged as a “management fee” would be subject to VAT. For example, management fees charged by a holding company to its subsidiaries would be subject to VAT.

The Public Clarifications service can be accessed through the Federal Tax Authority’s official website by clicking the “Help” button, then choosing the “Public Clarifications” tab, and selecting the required document. (https://www.tax.gov.ae/en/public-clarification.aspx)

Deregistration
The Federal Tax Authority (the “Authority”) explained that the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 on Value Added Tax has defined the cases for tax de-registration. As such, when a registrant stops making taxable supplies or if the value of the taxable supplies made by the registrant over a period of 12 consecutive months is less than the voluntary registration threshold of AED 187,500 and it is not expected that the total value of the registrant’s anticipated taxable supplies or expenses subject to tax in the coming 30-day period will exceed the voluntary registration threshold, then the registrant must submit a de-registration application to the Authority within 20 business days of the occurrence of any of these cases using the Authority’s e-Services portal, knowing that failing to submit the de-registration application within the period specified in the tax legislation will lead to the imposition of administrative penalties as stipulated in the Cabinet Resolution No. 40 of 2017 on Administrative Penalties for Violations of Tax Laws in the UAE. This was the subject of a press release issued by the Authority to clarify the conditions and procedures for de-registration for Value Added Tax, after more than a year of its implementation. The Authority confirmed that registrants will not be de-registered unless they have paid all due taxes and administrative penalties and filed all required tax returns for the period in which they were registered as stipulated under the tax legislation.

The Authority went on to assert that the UAE Tax System is based entirely on voluntary compliance by Taxable Persons, whether it being with regards to registration, filing Tax Returns and payment of due tax or de-registration, noting that these services are available free of charge.
The Authority also mentioned that these procedures can be completed within few minutes through simple steps via the e-Services portal, available 24/7 on the Authority’s website (www.tax.gov.ae).

KSA
Reduction of the value-added tax (VAT) registration threshold to SR 375,000 from January 1, 2019, will increase the taxpayer base by about 150,000
The 2018 base was over 140,000 VAT-registered taxpayers.

Non-resident taxpayers are required to appoint a tax representative to act on their behalf and to assume joint liability for VAT debts. This requirement is posing some challenge to some non-resident taxpayers. Hopefully, progress in this area can be made soon.

VAT audits have commenced and assessments issued for contraventions of the regulations such as late registration and filing of VAT returns as well as incorrect declarations.
The global trend is towards tax authorities accessing taxpayer data directly and, in some territories, preparing the return for the taxpayer. Saudi taxpayers need to be prepared. Expect an increase in the level of scrutiny as GAZT continues to build its resources to challenge the VAT treatment of specific transactions.

Foreign Business VAT recovery
In a new guide on “VAT Refunds for Business Visitors”, published on its official website, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) outlined four conditions that allow foreign businesses to recover Value Added Tax (VAT) incurred in the UAE To be eligible for the VAT refund.
1.The first condition is that foreign businesses must not have a place of establishment or fixed establishment in the UAE or in any of the VAT-Implementing GCC States that fully comply with the provisions of the Common VAT Agreement of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
2.Second, such foreign businesses must not be a Taxable Person in the UAE.
3.Third, they must also be registered as an establishment with a competent authority in the jurisdiction in which they are establishe
4. The fourth condition is that they must be from a country that implements VAT and that equally provides VAT refunds to UAE businesses in similar circumstances.

FTA Director General His Excellency Khalid Ali Al Bustani described the refund procedure as clear and transparent, noting that it supports economic activities in the areas in which the visiting business of the country participates, which is reflected positively on many sectors including tourism, trade, exhibitions, conferences, etc. He stated that the mechanism is in accordance with the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 on Value Added Tax and the terms and conditions set in its Executive Regulations, which call for refunding taxes paid on supplies or imports made by a foreign entity not residing in the UAE or any of the Implementing States, subject to meeting certain conditions. He further explained that reciprocity is a key condition for the procedure, whereby the Authority will refund the VAT to businesses resident in countries that refund VAT for UAE businesses visiting their territories.

The Federal Tax Authority clarified that the period of each refund claim shall be a calendar year, noting that for claims in respect of the 2018 calendar year, refund applications can be made as of April 1, 2019. However, for subsequent calendar years, the opening date for accepting refund applications will be March 1st of the following year; this means that for the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019, applications will be accepted as of March 1, 2020.

The FTA went on to stress that the minimum claim amount of each VAT refund application submitted by business visitors is AED2,000, which may consist of a single purchase or multiple purchases. The Authority urged potential applicants to hold on to the original tax invoices on the purchases for which they would like to reclaim VAT, as they will be required to be submitted along with the refund applications.
Businesses residing in any GCC State that is not considered to be an Implementing

State may still submit a VAT refund application to reclaim VAT incurred in the UAE under this scheme, the FTA assured, outlining only 3 situations where VAT cannot be reclaimed,
1,The first situation is if the Foreign Business in question makes supplies in the UAE, unless the recipient is obliged to account for VAT under the Reverse Charge Mechanism.
2. Second, a VAT refund cannot be processed if the Input Tax in respect of any goods or services is “blocked” from recovery and, therefore, not recoverable by a Taxable Person in the UAE.
3. The third situation where a refund is not possible is if the Foreign Business is a non-resident tour operator.

The guide on “VAT Refunds for Business Visitors” can be accessed on the FTA’s official website via the link:
https://www.tax.gov.ae/pdf/VAT%20Refund%20User%20Guide-Business%20Visitors_EN.pdf (See Public Ax 2012 Finance Vat folder)
Independent Directors Services

Independent Directors’ services
The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has confirmed that the date of supply for Value Added Tax (VAT) with regard to Independent Directors’ services is determined either in accordance with the general rules or the special rules, depending mainly on whether the fees for the said directors were known from the outset or not.
Where such fees are known from the outset, the date of supply shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Articles (25) and (26) of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT, depending on whether or not there will be periodic payments. If such fees are not known from the outset, they shall be determined upon conclusion of the Annual General Meeting and the date of supply shall be established only when such fees become known.
The date of supply prescribes the point in time when a VAT Registrant needs to account for VAT, the Authority explained in the Public Clarification on the Date of Supply for Independent Directors. This is part of the “Public Clarifications” service available on the FTA’s website to introduce taxpayers to all aspects of the tax system and facilitate compliance. The service can be accessed via the link: https://www.tax.gov.ae/public-clarification.aspx
The FTA explained that in instances where the Board Fees are known at the outset and involve periodic or multiple payments, the date of supply would be determined as per Article (26) of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT, where the date of supply would be the earliest of the following three: The date of issuance of the tax invoice; the date the payment is due as shown on the tax invoice; and the date of receipt of payment. If 12 months have passed from the date of provision of services and none of the aforesaid events has occurred, the date of supply will be triggered at the end of the 12th month.
As for the instances where Board Fees are known at the outset but there are no periodic or multiple payments, the date of supply would be determined as per Article (25) of the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT. Accordingly, the date of supply would be the earliest of the following three: The date of issuance of a tax invoice; the date on which the provision of services was completed; and the date of receipt of payment.

Profit Margin Scheme
The UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) asserted that only those goods which have previously been subject to VAT before the supply in question may be subject to the profit margin scheme. As a result, stock on hand of used goods which were acquired prior to the effective date of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) on Value Added Tax (“VAT law”), or which have not previously been subject to VAT for other reasons, are not eligible to be sold under the profit margin scheme. VAT is therefore due on the full selling price of such goods.

The taxable person will not be allowed to apply the profit margin scheme in such cases where he has issued a tax invoice or any other document mentioning an amount of VAT chargeable in respect of the supply.
• The profit margin is the difference between the purchase price of the Goods and the selling price of the Goods,
• The profit margin shall be deemed to be inclusive of Tax
• A VAT registered business may apply the profit margin scheme to eligible goods when:
o the goods must have been purchased from either a person who is not registered for VAT;
o or a taxable person who calculated VAT on the supply by reference to the profit margin i.e. a VAT registered business, which already applied the profit margin scheme on the same goods.
o In addition, the profit margin scheme may also apply when the taxable person made a supply of the goods where input tax was not recovered in accordance with Article 53 of Cabinet Decision No. 52 of 2017.
Suppliers should be confident that a good has previously been subject to tax in order to apply the profit margin scheme. Such evidence or information of this position could include but is not limited to.:
o information relating to the date the good was first manufactured, sold or brought in to use
o e.g. in the case of a car, the date the car was first registered would indicate its sale would have been subject to VAT if it was registered on a date after 1 January 2018;
o Evidence that the supplier paid VAT on their original purchase e.g. by asking the supplier for a copy of the tax invoice relating to their purchase of the good.
Where a Taxable Person has charged Tax in respect of a supply with reference to the profit margin, the Taxable Person shall issue a Tax Invoice that clearly states that the Tax was charged with reference to the profit margin, in addition to all other information required to be stated in a Tax Invoice except the amount of Tax.

Transportation

As per the Clause (4), Article (45) of the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 on Value Added Tax and as per Article (34) of Cabinet Decision No. 52 of 2017 on the Executive Regulations (“VAT Executive Regulations”): The supply of the means of transport shall be subject to the zero rate in the case of, a supply of bus or train that is designed or adapted to be used for public transportation of (10) or more passengers.

One such qualifying means of transport includes the supply of a bus or train that is designed or adapted to be used for public transportation of 10 or more passengers. This Public Clarification discusses the definition of ‘public transportation’ and its interpretation for the purposes of identifying those buses or trains which qualify to be supplied at the zero rate under this provision.As a result, those means of transport which are designed to transport a specific category of individuals, such as school students or employees of a business, do not meet the conditions to be treated as a qualifying means of transport for the purposes of the zero-rating provisions. Such means of transport shall therefore be subject to the standard rate of VAT.
This denotes that, any supplies of means of transport (e.g. supply of buses) made for the use of schools or business are subject to 5% tax at the time of its purchase.
It has also been clarified by the FTA that, whether or not the original supply of the means of transport qualified for zero rating has no impact on the VAT liability of any charges made for the supply of transportation services. The VAT treatment of the means of transport when purchased does not determine the VAT treatment of any supply of transport services made using that vehicle. Providing services to business for transporting its employees from one place to another still remains exempt under law. Therefore, where local transport is made for a charge to a defined group of people, any VAT incurred on the costs of purchasing the means of transport, fuel etc. in order to provide that service is not recoverable.

Difference between private transportation & public transportation in the VAT Law:
What is Private Transportation?

FTA defines ‘Private Transportation’ as ‘all means of transportation used to transport a specific group of people under contracts.’
What is Public Transportation?
The transport used for ‘public transportation’ shall be interpreted by the FTA as, ‘all means of mass transportation used to transport all individuals without specifying any category.’
The difference between the two forms of transportation therefore means that public transportation should be available for all individuals without exception. Public transportation would not include transportation which is only available to a specific category of user.
To summarize, if a bus or train is designed or adapted for a specific class or group of people, or is only available for use by a specific class or group of people, then it shall be considered to be designed or adapted for use for private transportation. And thus, the supply of such means of transport will be taxable.
Factors relevant to identify Public Transportation:
In order to determine whether a bus or train is designed or adapted for use for public transportation, the following factors would be relevant:
1. Features exist which allow passengers to pay for the transportation or to indicate they possess a ticket e.g. a payment booth, ticket scanner or device to take payment;
2. There is branding either within or outside the vehicle advertising the transport service, indicating the transportation is available to all;
3. There is branding or other features indicating regulation of the means of transport by the entity regulating public transportation in the Emirate of operation;
4. The intended use of the means of transport is to transport members of the public without exception or limitation to a specific group.
By considering above points, the following means of transports are not be considered to be used for public transportation:
1. School buses;
2. Buses used to transport groups of employees or workers to or from a place of work;
3. Shuttle buses used to transport hotel guests to other locations e.g. a mall, airport, park, or other tourist attraction.
Hence the and the supply of such means of transports shall be subject to VAT at the standard rate.
VAT Liability of Transportation Services:
To add on, services related to transportation shall be governed by Clause 4 of Article 46 of the VAT Law and Article 45 of the Executive Regulations which state that any supply of local passenger transport shall be exempt from VAT where the supply is of local passenger transport services in a qualifying means of transport by land, water or air from a place in the UAE to another place in the UAE.
For the purposes of the exemption from tax, one of the qualifying means of transport listed includes a motor vehicle, including a taxi, bus, railway train, tram, mono-rail or similar means of transport, designed or adapted for transport of passengers.

Emirati Nationals – Home owners
The Federal Tax Authority issued a guide Apr2018 with details for home owners on how to claim the refund.
Emirati house owners have the right to a five per cent value added tax (VAT) refund when constructing their homes, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has stated. The Authority has issued a guide with details for home owners on how to claim the refund. It clarifies that only UAE citizens have the right to ask for the refund. They need no new account on the Authority’s website, and only need to download and fill a form and submit it back so the Authority
t UAE nationals can claim the VAT refund against the construction expenses for a residential building, when they construct it either for themselves or for their family members.
UAE nationals can claim the refund against a newly constructed building to be used solely as residence, under Article (66) of Cabinet Decision No. (52) of 2017 on the Executive Regulations, of the Federal Decree-Law No (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax,”.
The VAT refund is not allowed in relation to a building that will not be used solely as a residence by the person or the person’s family. For example, it is not to be used as a hotel, guest house, hospital, or if the property is to be used for rental purposes or for any other purpose not consistent with it being used as a residence,
According to the guide issued by the FTA, an Emirati owner has the right to ask for the VAT refund if he bought a piece of land and allowed an authorised person or company to establish a housing unit on it. The guide says that the VAT refund only includes the money spent on establishing the unit, adding that it includes the amounts paid as building materials, except for electricity products of furniture or green areas.
On the other hand, the refund also includes VAT paid for doors, fire alarms systems, floors, kitchens, health units, bathrooms, windows, and electricity cables. A third entity is going to review the housing units to approve the refund and its amount after the Emirati owner submits the form. Moreover, the owner needs documents that prove his ownership for the unit, show the date of issuing the certification of establishment, prove the ownership of the land and show the value of VAT paid during the process.
It should be noted that the VAT refund will be claimed after completion of the new building which is ready to use. The owner must file a VAT refund application after getting registration with the FTA within six months from the date of completion of the newly built residence. Processing can take up to 20 days.
A newly built residence is considered complete at the date the residence becomes occupied, or the date when it is certified as completed by a competent authority in the state, or as may otherwise be stipulated by the Authority.
Also where the Authority has repaid tax and following the receipt of such repayment, if the person used the building for rental or any other commercial purpose, then he will be required to repay the amount of the tax that was claimed by him. The UAE national can claim VAT against construction related expenses excluding furniture or electrical appliances.

Grants and Sponsorships
The VAT treatment of donations, grants and sponsorships depends on whether the donor, grantor or sponsor, as the case may be, received any benefit in return for such payments.
o Where any benefit is received in return for the payments, VAT implications will arise.
o However, where no benefit is received, the payments will be treated as outside the scope of VAT as they will not be seen as consideration for a supply.
The VATP011 clarification states where donation and grants do not have any supply, they are considered as out of scope.
Generally, sponsorship will be subject to VAT as there is usually associated supply to such sponsorship.

Pre Vat Orders and post Vat supply
As per the FTA’s statement, the only case where consumers are directly responsible for paying VAT on services are those that were delivered fully or partially after VAT went into effect from January 1 and it was contractually/ stated that the amount due is exclusive of tax.
According to the FTA’s statement, suppliers will be liable for VAT in two cases:
o if the contract states that the amount received against the good or service is inclusive of VAT;
o or if the contract issued to the consumer did not refer to VAT.
In the latter case, when the goods or services recipient is registered for tax, the amount due is treated as exclusive of tax. So the supplier has to ascertain whether the recipient is registered, and the recipient ability to recover tax as per Article 70 of the VAT Executive Regulations.
The authority stressed that in all cases, the supplier remains liable for accounting for the tax and paying it to the FTA.

Bahrain and Utility Bills
A Bahraini lawyer has insisted that the recent decision by the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) to apply Value Added Tax (VAT) on subscribers’ bills are unconstitutional, demanding immediate cancellation of the decision. This came as lawyer Mohammed Al Thawadi appeared before the High Administrative Court, which is examining a complaint lodged by him against the authority. The court said that it would issue its final verdict in the case on February 24.
In his statements, the lawyer asserted that the decision is unconstitutional, claiming that Articles 15 and 17 of the Constitution of the Kingdom stipulate that taxes should only be imposed through legislation. Mr. Al Thawadi also accused EWA of not adhering to the Unified GCCVAT Agreement.
“Article 29 did not stipulate the imposition of taxes on electricity supply services, but on the contrary, it gave each state the right to exempt some sectors in accordance with local law. “Additionally, Article 30 stipulates the exemption of government bodies from paying taxes, and therefore it is not permissible for the authority to collect taxes.” The lawyer’s last statement came after the authority denied the accusations during the previous hearing.
“The authority does not exercise its functions as sovereign and there is no monopoly of providing electricity and water supply services in the Kingdom,” the authority’s counsel had told the court. Further supporting his accusations against the authority, Mr. Al Thawadi said: “The authority’s claim that it does not operate in a sovereign manner and that there is nothing preventing competition with it from any other party in providing its services is incorrect.

Cloud back ups or on-premise?

February 16th, 2019

Pretty scary.
We have suffered catastrophic destruction at the hands of a hacker, last seen as aktv@94.155.49.9 This person has destroyed all data in the US, both primary and backup systems. We are working to recover what data we can.

Though they’re back up and running, who knows if customers will stick by them, or will sue them.
What impact that had on infrastructure mail servers, backup servers, and SQL Servers for customers is hard to judge.
A large number of people might have lost their mailboxes and previously stored mail that was in IMAP storage.
This is likely an annoyance for individuals, but potentially catastrophic for businesses. Imagine your small business hosted with them and all your mailboxes were lost with customer communications and who knows what else.

Could this happen with a cloud provider like Azure O365, Google Apps or AWS?
Maybe but they will have DR backups,
But what if you store back ups on the cloud but run on premise- how long would it take to mass restore multiple, customers? Do you still have ad3qute on premise test systems to restore on and the staff and the time to do it?

Do you assume that you will always have either a primary server and an online backup server/share/bucket/container and can download data.
The problem is that online systems that connect to the primary can be accessed.
If an attacker were to access one, they potentially could access the second.
The world seems to be moving towards more online storage, or in the case of cloud vendors, a reliance on snapshots. That might be good enough for cloud vendors, but is it good enough for your on-premise system.
It’s likely that an attacker, possibly even with insider help, would wipe out backups first, then primary systems.
Some sort of disconnected offline backup of data, especially database servers gives you a third line of defence.
don’t forget that back up- need to be tested- if the back up software compatible with old versions, does your back up use the same version as the current erp software installed on your primary, or the same SQL version (i.e when you upgrade do you also upgrade your back ups, or maintain an older environment?)

Microsoft and other large vendors have had downtime whether self induced by releasing code too early, or due to hardware failure, or malicious attach . What is important to realise is just how infrequent are just issues given the number of clients they have across a range of solutions, and how little was the downtime and how fast they are at in addressing issues that arise. The think about how you would have been able to deal with the same issues in your own server room?

There are increasing risks, and increasing issues of statutory compliance with regard to data protection e.g, GDPR. The cloud generally offers cheap storage nd robust systems, yet it needs to be part of a holistic approach to reduce overall risk and cost, and not the only line of defence.

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU5, SP1 CU13 – many fixes

January 25th, 2019

Many fixes inside SP2 CU5 and SP1 CU13, e.g.:
• Access violation when you compile a query
• Access violations and unhandled exceptions with Always On Availability Groups automatic seeding
• Dynamic Data Masking doesn’t when there’s a cursor involved
• Access violations for XML data types
• Query Store blocks transactions and log truncation
• Out of memory errors
• Non-yielding schedulers with heavy use of prepared statements
• Can’t restore compressed backups of encrypted databases
• High CPU usage when there are many batch requests (which we would expect?)
• SQL Server service crashes when you cancel CHECKDB (on a “large database” – doesn’t that apply to all? )
…. lots more

Sunsystems v 6.3 – time to upgrade.

January 14th, 2019

Infor SunSystems® delivers integrated financial, purchasing, inventory, and sales management paired with social business, analytics, and in-context business intelligence. For those on legacy versions such as v5 or even 6.1 or 6.2 there many reasons to upgrade this year to version 6.3. here are just a few:

1.ENHANCED SUNSYSTEMS CORE FEATURES
Give users a familiar, easy-to-use environment. Infor SunSystems helps you to increase productivity and to reduce training time. Employees can easily find information relevant to their jobs, and even delivers that data to them automatically.
2.MODERN USER INTERFACE
Create real-time queries and drill back to the source transaction to take immediate action. The addition of the Infor Ming.le™ social feed helps you get clear, supporting insight and links to additional information at the point of decision.
3.ROBUST BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
SunSystems has web dashboards and a self-service front-end that allow any business user to conduct sophisticated analytics.
Centralization of data is improved, and integration to your business applications is more seamless so that you can get business insights through a variety of channels.
4.INFOR ION INTEGRATION
This version of SunSystems has expanded Infor ION® integration capabilities, which provides easy integration with a range of Infor solutions for risk management, human capital management, travel expense control, asset management, and more. You get cross-application workflows and event management, and deeper insight across application process flows, as well as proactive, preemptive control.

SunSystems in 2018 became part of the Infor OS. This brings several advantages to the product. It will become integrated with other Infor solutions. There are plans to integrate Infor Birst, HCM, HMS (Hospitality Management) and CRM from 2019. The integration of Birst may see some customers adopt the powerful BI tool and rethink their reliance on spreadsheets.

Sql 2014 Sp2 Update 15

December 15th, 2018

The 15th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2014 SP2 is available for download at the Microsoft Downloads site.
Registration is no longer required to download Cumulative updates.

CU15 KB Article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4469137

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2014 SP2 Latest Cumulative Update: https://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=53592

Update Center for Microsoft SQL Server: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/sqlserver/ff803383.aspx

RPA certifications for Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

November 25th, 2018

I am pleased to announce that following extensive training over recent weeks two of our consultants have already achieved certifications.

If you have an ROA project in mind and need support for your project from a proven, local. UAE partner then please call Synergy Software Systems on 0097143365589

Making Tax Digital (MTD)

November 19th, 2018

If you have U.K operations then be aware of Making Tax Digital (MTD), a transformational approach to taxation in the UK from HMRC. The first change is coming in 2019 and will affect every organisation from processes to how systems are set up to record and report tax.

This will affect all companies with U.K, financial operations and all financial software. From April 2019, businesses that are registered for VAT and have turnover above the VAT registration threshold of £85,000 will be required to keep digital records for VAT purposes and submit their quarterly VAT return updates to HMRC through functional compatible software

The new VAT record keeping rules requires that all applicable VAT return data is digitally linked so that transactions can be traced from source data (i.e. purchase/sales ledger) to VAT return completion and upload.

Key benefits for businesses include improved visibility over their tax situation and easier access to tax information online; enabling businesses to plan and budget more effectively, driving performance and growth

With Making Tax Digital, the new regulation from HMRC going live from 1 April 2019, it’s time to start preparing. This is similar to the legislation already implemented in the U.A.E. which we have done for both infor SunSystems, and Dynamics 365/Dynamics Ax.

Which versions of Dynamics AX will Microsoft be ‘Making Tax Digital’ compliant?

Any Dynamics product that is still under mainstream support will get an update from Microsoft to ensure full compliance. This means for Dynamics AX only Dynamics AX 2012 R3 will be automatically updated. Microsoft have not confirmed when this update will take place – there are still some further details to come from HMRC.

Receiving the Microsoft update may not be enough to guarantee full compliance – there will likely need to be a number of small updates such as capturing the right fields and updating commercial forms, and reporting format that will need to be confirmed.

In addition, by April 2020 you will need to ensure all of your processes are fully digital.