SAF-T (Standard Audit File for Tax) is an international standard for electronic exchange of reliable accounting data from organizations to a national tax authority or external auditors. The standard is defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The file requirements are expressed using XML, but the OECD does not impose any particular file format, recommending that (para 6.28) "It is entirely a matter for revenue bodies to develop their policies for implementation of SAF-T, including its representation in XML. However, revenue bodies should consider data formats that permit audit automation today while minimising potential costs to all stakeholders when moving to new global open standards for business and financial data such as XBRL, and XBRL- GL in particular."
The standard is now increasingly adopted within European countries as a means to file tax returns electronically.
Although SAF-T is formally standardized, both with respect to syntax (format) and semantics (meaning) to allow for and fulfill automatic data interchange and tools support, e.g. across country borders or common computerized systems, it does include some room for revenue bodies (tax administrations) to add individual elements, e.g. to cover special needs in a taxation or audit system. For example, in Portugal the SAF-T (PT) v1.03_01 standard - based on SAF-T v1.0 - includes some special elements and types relevant to the standard in Portugal.
In May 2005 the OECD Committee on Fiscal Affairs (CFA) published the first version of the SAF-T guidance. Version 1.0 was based on entries as found in a General Ledger Chart of Accounts, together with master file data for customers and suppliers and details of invoices, orders, payments, and adjustments. The standard describes a set of messages for data exchange between accounting software and national tax authorities or auditors. The syntax is proprietary and based on XML. There are multiple localized versions available which are compatible with the general v1.0 standard. Schema was originally defined in old DTD format - a precursor to today's XML Schema.
The revised version (2.0) extended the standard to include information on Inventory and Fixed Assets. The opportunity was also taken to enhance the original SAF-T specification to take account of suggestions from OECD member countries and others. Schema is changed to XML Schema format and new information covering Inventory and Fixed Assets added. The schema is not fully backward compatible with v1.0.
|Version||Introduced||XML Schema||Annotated||File Package|
|v1.0||May 2005||SAF-T.xsd||SAF-T-map.html||SAF-T v1.0 package|
|v2.0||April 2010||SAF-T_Schema_v_2.00.xsd||Annotated SAF-T Schema v2.pdf|
The following countries/organizations have laws adopting SAF-T:
|Country||Name||Latest XML Schema version||Date||Based on SAF-T version||Organization||Comments|
|Portugal||SAF-T (PT)||1.03_01||December 2, 2016||SAF-T v1.0||Portuguese Tax Authority / Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira|
|Luxembourg||FAIA||2.01||March 13, 2013||SAF-T v2.0||Luxembourg Tax Administration / Administration de l’Enregistrement et des Domaines (AED)||Law rule (memo) A-206 of December 24, 2008.|
|France||FEC||?||January 1, 2014||N/A||French Ministry of Finance||FEC FR adopted December 5, 2012 making it obligatory pr. January 1, 2014 for companies to supply file covering years 2011, 2012 and 2013. However, France's usage of the term "Standard Audit File for Taxation" has been adapted for a file format not based on the OECD SAF-T; their écriture compatible is proprietary.|
|Austria||SAF-T AT||1.01||January 31, 2009||SAF-T v1.0||Austrian Ministry of Finance / Bundesministerium für Finanzen||Decree of March 20, 2009 BMF-010102/0002-IV/2/2009.|
|Poland||JPK||1.0||July 1, 2016||SAF-T v2.0||Polish Ministry of Finance / Ministerstwo Finansów||The new requirement comes into place on 1 July 2016 for large companies. Small and medium-sized businesses (less than 250 employees) will be required to implement the requirement by 1 July 2018.|
|Lithuania||SAF-T||1.00||July 1, 2015||SAF-T v1.0||State Tax Inspectorate / Valstybinė mokesčių inspekcija||
Article 16 of the Law on Accounting. Resolution No 699 of 1 July 2015 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Order No VA-49 of 21 July 2015 of the Head of the State Tax Inspectorate under the Ministry of Finance. 
|Norway||Norwegian SAF-T Financial||1.00||January 1, 2018||SAF-T v2.0||Norwegian Tax Administration / Skatteetaten||
The Norwegian Ministry of Finance are considering adopting SAF-T to law. 
- SAF-T v2.0 XML schema http://www.oecd.org/ctp/taxadministration/45167181.pdf
- OECD http://www.oecd.org
- "SAF-T (PT) news from Portuguese Tax Authority (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira)" (in Portuguese). 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "Computerized File Audit AED - FAIA v2.01 March 2013 (based on SAF-T v2.0)". Luxembourg Tax Administration (Administration de l’Enregistrement et des Domaines (AED)). 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "SAF-T (PT) v1.03_01 XML Schema .xsd file (download from Portuguese Tax Authority (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira) as adopted 2013-08-21.". Portuguese Tax Authority (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira). 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "Guidance for the Standard Audit File – Tax Version 2.0" (PDF). OECD. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
- "Guidance for the Standard Audit File - Tax, Version 2.0: Appendix B: SAF-T Schema version 2.00" (PDF). OECD. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
- "Law rule (memo) A-206 of December 24, 2008" (PDF) (in French). Retrieved 2014-02-20.
- "FEC FR 2013 - File bookkeeping" (in French). TJC. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "Software to comply with FEC FR" (in French). Doplhin Solutions. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "Provision of data on data carriers - Standard Audit File-Tax (SAF-T)" (in German). Austrian Ministry of Finance / Bundesministerium für Finanzen. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
- "Decree of March 20, 2009 BMF-010102/0002-IV/2/2009" (in German). Austrian Ministry of Finance / Bundesministerium für Finanzen. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
- "Poland SAF-T VAT reporting July 2016". Retrieved 2015-12-02.
- "SAF-T XML Schema, Lithuania". Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- "SAF-T legislation in Lithuania". Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- "Standard Audit File - Tax (SAF-T) Financial". Retrieved 2017-03-17.
- "The SIE format". Retrieved 7 July 2012.