What is SAF-T?

From January 1, 2020, it became mandatory for all bookkeeping obligated parties to submit accounting data to public authorities in the standard XML format, SAF-T (Standard Audit File – Tax). The main purpose of SAF-T is to simplify and streamline audits and archiving, as well as to standardize the exchange of data between different financial systems in order to efficiently analyze accounting information. The requirement applies to accounting periods from January 1, 2020. Bookkeeping obligated parties are not required to reproduce accounting information in SAF-T format for previous accounting periods.

The requirement to be able to deliver accounting data in SAF-T format applies to all bookkeeping obligated parties using electronic accounting systems for bookkeeping. Companies with annual turnover of less than NOK 5 million are generally exempt from the requirement, but if the business still has recorded information available electronically, they are subject to the requirement.

SAF-T does not replace the usual submission of tax returns/company returns, value added tax returns, and tax assessment data. It is only in connection with a possible audit and at the request of the Norwegian Tax Administration that bookkeeping obligated parties must submit SAF-T files. The submission takes place through Altinn, on form RF-1363.

In cases where the accounting system is used to produce files in SAF-T format, the bookkeeping obligated party is responsible for ensuring that any deviating account use or deviating VAT code use in the accounting is converted to SAF-T standard account and VAT codes in the file export. This is done by setting up accounts and VAT codes against SAF-T standards. The links below provide information from the Norwegian Tax Administration on standard account plans and VAT codes:

More information about SAF-T can be found on the Norwegian Tax Administration's website.

Does your company comply with SAF-T?

Each company is responsible for being able to deliver a SAF-T file. In practice, this means that:

  • The chart of accounts must be correctly set up against the standard SAF-T chart of accounts
  • VAT codes must be correctly set up against standard codes
  • The company must be able to convert files to XML format

To ensure that your company is compliant with the requirements, our first recommendation is to contact your system supplier. It is important for any accounting entity to know if this functionality is available in the accounting system and what is required of the accounting entity itself.

BDO can assist you with SAF-T 

BDO has expertise and experience in assisting various companies with SAF-T. We offer a range of services to make your company compatible with SAF-T requirements:

  • Advice on compliance with requirements
  • Set up of chart of accounts and VAT codes
  • We offer a dedicated SAF-T conversion solution
  • Validation of SAF-T files
  • Analysis and reconciliation


If you need any assistance with SAF-T, please contact your local advisor or Siv Irene Aasen.