The accounts file does not meet the technical and/or formal conditions
Every accounts file must meet a number of technical and formal conditions before it can be accepted as a valid file. In most cases, these checks are done totally automatically. In a small number of cases, an employee of the Central Balance Sheet Office has to intervene.
1. Automatic validation
All accounts files undergo automatic validation. The method of checking a file which has been submitted via the internet depends on the form of the file containing the accounts:
- in the case of XBRL files, a check is always done at this stage to see whether the uploaded accounts file:
- meets the structural and technical conditions
- contains the same company number as the number of the legal person selected by the filer
- fulfils all the legal arithmetic and logicals concerning the content
- contains correct identification data (such as legal status) for the legal person whose accounts are being filed
- contains correct data of the indicated financial year
- in the case of pdf files, the only check at this stage concerns whether the uploaded accounts file meets the technical conditions.
In the case of automatic validation, you receive a message almost immediately from the application "Filing annual accounts via the internet" if there is a problem with any of the said checks. The commonest problems are:
- "Invalid content was found [...]. Probably an older taxonomy was used.": this means that you used obsolete software to make up your accounts file; you must either produce a new file with a new version of your accounting package (in which case you must contact your software supplier), or modify the file by reading in the data in the current version of Sofista and saving the file again in XBRL format
- "An error has arisen during sending of the file. Please check that the file exists and has the extension .pdf, that the size of the file is less than 3 MB and that you have not exceeded your quota for the maximum number of daily filings.": we recommend that, when preparing and condensing pdf files, you apply the tips under Documentation and FAQ.
2. Visual check
An accounts file is only subjected to a visual check if:
- during the automatic validation of an XBRL file, the application "Filing of annual accounts via the internet" finds certain elements requiring a decision by you or by a Central Balance Sheet Office employee
- you upload a pdf file or an XBRL file containing certain elements in the form of a pdf file; as well as the automatic validation of the file, an additional check has to be conducted by a Central Balance Sheet Office employee.
In the case of the visual check, the commonest reasons for rejection are:
- "Insufficient contrast; printed in a colour other than black": these are often accounts produced in a very small typeface or printed (and then scanned) using a printer with an almost empty print cartridge
- "The accounts do not conform to the standard format": these are usually accounts in which the financial data are expressed in amounts with decimals whereas they should be expressed in units without decimals, or accounts containing an obsolete model of the social balance sheet
- "Data missing or inconsistent (start / closure / general meeting)": the commonest omissions or inconsistencies concern failure to enter the date of the general meeting as required, or cases where the general meeting is yet to take place but the date has already been entered, or the general meeting was held before the end of the financial year
- "The first page is missing/does not conform to the standard format": this usually concerns the accounts of associations or foundations using an accounting scheme which differs from the standard models; these accounts then need a special covering page (Dutch - French)
- "The accounts are not written in a single language": this reason for rejection is often given in the case of accounts in which the language used for the balance sheet and profit and loss account differs from that used for the documents which have to be filed with the accounts, such as the auditor's report or the management report; however, established foreign language terms such as ‘cash flow’, ‘human resources’ or ‘public relations manager’, are accepted
- "The information entered does not correspond to the pdf": usually, this concerns the begin- and/or enddate of the financial year: the dates on the first page of the accounts file differ from the dates entered in the application "Filing annual accounts via the Internet" or because an identical accounts file still waits for payment
- "The accounts have already been filed": accounts files are often made up using a file from a previous financial year; sometimes, the previous year’s file is submitted accidentally instead of the updated file.
The filing fees have not been duly paid
If the file passes the automatic validation and a visual check, it is accorded "Wait for payment" status. The filing fees due can then be paid by transfer or by credit card.
Accounts filed via the internet are rejected automatically if the filing fees have not been received at the latest 7 calendar days after being accorded "Wait for payment" status. Common reasons for failure to make due payment are:
- the filer does not transfer the fees until the 7th calendar day (in which case the National Bank receives the amount on the 8th calendar day or later), whereas the National Bank must receive the filing fees on the 7th calendar day at the latest; to avoid any misunderstanding, we would urge you to arrange immediate payment of the fees due
- the National Bank receives an incorrect amount: this happens quite often if the filing fees are transferred from more than one bank account, so that the amounts transferred do not reach the National Bank on the same day; it is better to pay the whole of the fees from the same bank account.
Finally, the filer is being informed by e-mail of the rejection due to non or partial payment of the filing costs and of the procedure how to present the rejected annual accounts file again. The filer must therefore fill in a correct e-mail address in the section "My profile" of the application FILING.
The accounts are deleted by the filer himself
The filer himself can delete the accounts if they are submitted via the internet. That option is available so long as the fee payment has not been processed. In that case the filer must start the filing procedure again right from the beginning so that the filing date changes (with possible implications for the filing charges applied).