E-invoice - 2013 as a year of changes


Taxpayers conducting business activity have already had another liberalization of the regulations on issuing, sending and storing electronic invoices. The history of e-invoices began with the fact that entrepreneurs who wanted to use this type of documents were required to secure their integrity with a qualified electronic signature. The next stages - it is quite unclear views as to whether an invoice in PDF format sent by e-mail meets the requirements for e-invoices, the requirement of the recipient's written consent, where it was questioned whether signing the regulations could be treated as consent. Finally, in 2013 this road ends - one could say - with a solution beneficial for entrepreneurs. Check what elements the e-invoice should contain!

So why are so many entrepreneurs still afraid of e-invoicing? Precisely because changes are introduced step by step to facilitate the circulation of electronic sales documentation, and many entrepreneurs still associate e-invoices only with difficult words: authenticity of origin, content integrity, electronic data interchange (EDI) or secure electronic signature. Therefore, let's try to systematize the information on e-invoices.

The basic legal act in force in 2013 and regulating the provisions on electronic invoices is the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of 20 December 2012 on sending invoices in electronic form, rules for their storage and the procedure for making them available to the tax authority or tax inspection authority.

Buyer's consent to receive invoices electronically

The recipient's acceptance is still required for e-invoices, but its form has been liberalized - the acceptance is the lack of an objection. Currently, the so-called presumed consent, and not - as in 2012 - the obligation to have the contractor's consent in written or electronic form. Seemingly a small change that pleases entrepreneurs who have decided to use e-invoices. As soon as the recipient receives the e-invoice and pays for it, he automatically accepts the exchange of sales documents in electronic form.

Authenticity of origin and integrity of content not only for e-invoices

The difficult-sounding words remain in the language of the regulation. Importantly for entrepreneurs - ensuring the integrity of the content, authenticity of origin and legibility of the invoice does not only apply to electronic invoices, but also to traditional paper invoices (§ 20a of the Regulation on invoicing). Therefore, all active VAT payers are obliged to maintain the authenticity of the origin, integrity of the content and legibility of issued and received invoices - whether in paper or electronic version.

However, while ensuring the integrity of the content or the authenticity of origin does not pose major problems in the case of paper invoices, some doubts may arise in the case of e-invoices. Fortunately - "not so terrible as the devil is painted".

According to the regulations, the authenticity of the origin of the invoice is understood as certainty as to the identity of the person delivering the goods or services, or the issuer of the invoice. On the other hand, the integrity of the content of the invoice is the certainty that the data it should contain in the invoice has not been changed.

The method of ensuring the authenticity of the origin, integrity of the content and legibility of the invoice is determined by the taxpayer. It has been established and confirmed by numerous tax interpretations that the integrity of the content can be ensured by an invoice saved in a PDF format - that is, one that, after saving, cannot be edited. The authenticity of origin is certainly ensured by the EDI system or a qualified electronic signature, however, these are not the only possible solutions to this issue. Their use is usually associated with additional costs, therefore the entrepreneur may use other forms of securing e-invoices. The regulation itself speaks of the possibility of applying any business controls, which consist in indicating the procedures of document circulation in the company, starting from issuing an invoice, transferring it to the contractor and the issue of its storage in the company. Business inspections are therefore aimed at developing reliable procedures for the circulation of documentation, not only on paper, but also on electronic basis, and can be used as one of the forms of maintaining the authenticity of the origin and integrity of the content. Of course, business inspections are by no means a novelty - they result directly from the EU Directive 2006/112 / EC.

"In ensuring the authenticity of the origin and integrity of the content, it can also help to specify a single permanent e-mail address from which e-invoices will be sent and received, as well as restricting access to both this e-mail address and the file with stored e-invoices" says Andrzej Lazarowicz, the President of wfirma.pl, an expert with over 20 years of experience in the field of economic law and accounting.

Data on the e-invoice and issuing date

The content of an electronic invoice does not differ from that which should be on a paper invoice. Therefore, the rules set out in the Regulation on, inter alia, tax refund to certain taxpayers and issuing invoices, which means that both the electronic invoice and the paper invoice should include primarily: the date of issue, document number, addresses and names of the seller and buyer, date of sale (delivery of goods or service ), name, measure and quantity of goods sold or scope of services provided, price, value, amount and tax rate.The deadlines for issuing electronic invoices are adequate to those relating to paper documentation. This means that invoices must, as a rule, be issued within 7 days from the date of service provision or goods release.