Elements of a VAT invoice - basic information


An invoice is a document that contains detailed information about the transaction, ie information about the parties and the subject of the transaction, settlement dates, etc. A VAT invoice is a special type of invoice that is issued by VAT taxpayers and is subject to separate regulations. The article explains which elements of the VAT invoice are mandatory and when the taxpayer is entitled to issue a simplified invoice.

Who is authorized to issue an invoice?

The persons authorized to issue invoices are:

  • registered active VAT payer,
  • a natural person running a business in making an intra-Community supply of new means of transport,
  • a taxpayer exempt from VAT, regardless of whether he registered with the Tax Office on the VAT-R form or not.

Mandatory elements of the VAT invoice

Pursuant to the provisions of the Act on tax on goods and services, Art. 106e paragraph. 1 invoice should contain at least:

  • date of issue,
  • a sequential number given within one or more series that uniquely identifies it,
  • names and surnames or the name of the taxpayer and buyer of goods or services and their addresses,
  • the number by which the taxpayer is identified for tax purposes,
  • the number by which the buyer of goods or services is identified for the purposes of tax or value added tax under which he received the goods or services,
  • the date of the delivery or completion of the delivery of goods or the performance of the service or the date of receipt of payment, if it occurred before the sale, provided that such date is specified and differs from the date of invoice,
  • name (type) of goods or services,
  • measure and quantity (number) of delivered goods or scope of services rendered,
  • unit price of a good or service without the tax amount (net unit price),
  • the amount of any price discounts or reductions, including in the form of an early payment discount, unless they are included in the net unit price,
  • value of the goods delivered or services performed, covered by the transaction without the tax amount (net sales value),
  • tax rate,
  • the sum of the net sales value with the division into sales subject to individual tax rates and sales exempt from tax,
  • the amount of tax on the sum of the net sales value, broken down into amounts related to individual tax rates,
  • the total amount due.

Personal invoice

When selling goods or services to companies, invoicing is obligatory. The situation is different in the case of sales to private persons who do not conduct business activity. At the customer's request, in such a situation, it is possible to issue a personal invoice, which will not contain all the required data for standard invoices. The purchaser's tax identification number will not appear on it.

Additional elements of the VAT invoice

Pursuant to Art. 106e paragraph. 1 of the VAT Act, invoices should also contain information such as:

  • cash method - in relation to small entrepreneurs who chose the cash method with regard to settling tax on goods and services,
  • self-invoicing - when the buyer of the goods issues an invoice on behalf of the seller,
  • split payment mechanism - used for the sale of services and goods from Annex 15, which takes place from November 1, 2019,
  • margin procedure for travel agencies - in the case of the provision of travel services, where the tax base is the amount of the margin,
  • Margin scheme - Used goods / Margin scheme - Collectors and antiques / Margin scheme - Works of art - for second-hand goods, collectors' items, antiques and works of art for which the tax base is the amount of the margin.

An extremely important provision in this respect is Art. 106e paragraph. 1 paragraph 19, relating directly to the taxpayers exempt. According to it, the entrepreneurs issuing the invoice should provide information on the basis of the VAT exemption. The Act indicates several possibilities - exemption due to the scope of performed activities (Article 43 (1)), due to detailed provisions (Article 82 (3)) and due to the fact that the sales value limit was not exceeded in the previous tax year (Article 113 sections 1 and 9).

Information about the basis of the exemption does not have to be placed on the invoices of entrepreneurs who do not settle VAT due to the not exceeded sales value limit (Article 113 (1) and (9) of the VAT Act).

In the case of electronic invoices, it is not required to have a written consent to receive them. If the entity pays the received e-invoice, at the same time agrees to receive electronic invoices.

Invoice elements such as: "VAT" or "Copy / Original" are not currently required and their inclusion does not affect the correctness of the invoice issued.

Simplified invoice

From January 1, 2013, active and exempt VAT taxpayers have the option of issuing the so-called simplified invoices, if the purchase amount does not exceed PLN 450 or the amount of EUR 100, if the amount is specified in EUR. Please note that you cannot issue a simplified invoice for sales to non-business individuals who request an invoice. The taxpayer is not obliged to issue a simplified invoice, and even small amounts can be documented with an ordinary invoice.

The simplified invoice should contain such information as:

  • date of issue,
  • the date of making or completing the delivery of goods or services, if such a date differs from the date of issue,
  • a sequential number that uniquely identifies the invoice,
  • name, surname or name of the taxpayer and his address,
  • numbers by which the seller and the buyer can be identified for value added tax,
  • name of the product or service,
  • the amounts of rebates and previously received receivables, if they are included in the net unit price,
  • VAT rates,
  • total amount due.

The simplified invoice does not need to contain information such as:

  • name and surname or name of the buyer and his address,
  • the quantity of goods delivered or the scope of services performed,
  • net unit price,
  • net amount due.

A simplified invoice should not be issued for the purpose of documenting:

  • delivery of goods or services for people who do not conduct business activity,
  • mail order sale,
  • intra-Community supplies of goods,
  • deliveries of goods or services subject to taxation in the territory of an EU Member State other than Poland, where the party liable for the payment of value added tax is the buyer.

Simplified invoice and receipt

It is worth noting that due to the smaller number of required elements in the simplified invoice, the receipt may be considered as such. The receipt contains the seller's data, the subject of the transaction or information regarding VAT. In order for the receipt to be considered an invoice, the customer's tax identification number (NIP) must be placed on it. If the cash register allows you to put the buyer's tax identification number on the receipt, it can be used to settle company costs and to deduct VAT. You should also remember about the limit of PLN 450 or EUR 100, up to which it is allowed to issue simplified invoices.

Signature on the sales invoice

With the accession to the European Union, Poland had to adapt its regulations to European standards. Along with the introduced changes, the obligation to have the signatures of the seller and the buyer as well as company stamps was removed so that the invoice could be recognized as an accounting document. Accordingly, an invoice without signatures is a full-fledged accounting document.

There are three exceptions to this rule where a signature is required:

  • invoices for flat-rate farmers (VAT-RR invoice),
  • corrective notes.