Electronic invoices in business

Service Business

At the beginning of 2013, taxpayers have greater freedom in issuing and sending electronic invoices. It is a very great convenience that allows you to save time and money. It is also worth emphasizing that the electronic invoice contributes to the protection of the environment.

What data should the e-invoice contain?

The data that should be on the electronic invoice does not differ from the data that must be included in invoices drawn up in the paper version.

So, according to § 5 (1) of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance, the invoice should contain:

  • the date of its issue;
  • a sequential number, based on one or more series, that uniquely identifies the invoice;
  • the first and last names or names of the taxpayer and the buyer of the goods or services and their addresses;
  • the number by which the taxpayer is identified for the tax, subject to paragraph 2. 2 point 11 lit. and;
  • the number by which the buyer of goods or services is identified for the tax or value added tax under which he received the goods or services, subject to paragraph 2 point 11 lit. b;
  • the date of completion or completion of the delivery of the goods or the performance of the service, if such date is specified and differs from the invoice issue date; in the case of continuous sales, the taxpayer may indicate on the invoice the month and year of sale;
  • name (type) of goods or services;
  • measure and quantity (number) of delivered goods or scope of services provided;
  • the unit price of a good or service without the tax amount (net unit price);
  • the amount of any rebates, including for early receipt of receivables, unless they are included in the net unit price;
  • value of the goods delivered or services performed, covered by the transaction, excluding 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.

Sending invoices in electronic form

Invoices may be sent electronically, in any electronic format, as long as the authenticity of the origin, the integrity of the content and the legibility of the invoice are ensured. Additionally, the entrepreneur must be approved by the recipient.

It is worth emphasizing that not every entrepreneur knows what should be understood under the above terms. Therefore, reference should be made to the regulation of the Minister of Finance on electronic invoices.

The authenticity of the origin of the invoice means certainty as to the identity of the supplier of goods or service provider or the issuer of the invoice.

On the other hand, the integrity of the content of the invoice means that the data that it should contain in the invoice has not been changed.

It is up to the taxpayer to decide how the authenticity, integrity and legibility of the invoice will be preserved. These can be assured with any business checks that establish a reliable audit trail between the invoice and the delivery of goods or the provision of services. In addition, the taxpayer may use:

  • a secure electronic signature verified with a valid qualified certificate, or
  • electronic data interchange (EDI), in accordance with the contract on the European electronic data exchange model, where the concluded contract relating to this exchange provides for the application of procedures guaranteeing the authenticity of the origin of the invoice and the integrity of its data.

Presumed consent ...

The provisions of the regulation do not specify the recipient's consent to receive electronic invoices. Therefore, many entities refer to the provisions of the Civil Code, which indicate that silence is an implicit acceptance. It goes too far in this respect. However, in a situation where an invoice has been sent to the contractor in an electronic form, and the contractor has paid the amount due or expressed his approval during the conversation, then it can be stated that the consent has been given.

How to store electronic invoices?

From par. 6 sec. 1 of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance, inter alia, regarding the transmission of electronic invoices, it follows that e-invoices should be stored broken down into settlement periods in any way that ensures:

  • the authenticity of the origin, integrity of the content and legibility of these invoices from the time of their issuance until the expiry of the tax liability limitation period;
  • easy to find them;
  • the tax authority or the tax inspection authority upon request, in accordance with separate regulations, immediate access to invoices.

If the entrepreneur has a seat in Poland, he is obliged to store them in the territory of the country. However, this provision does not apply if the invoices are stored outside the territory of the country in electronic form in a manner enabling the tax authority or the fiscal control authority to access these invoices online by electronic means.

The method of storing electronic invoices is to enable the tax authority and the fiscal control authority to immediately collect them and process the data contained therein.

Invoices in PDF format

The regulations do not explicitly refer to the format in which electronic invoices should be saved. However, the interpretations of the tax authorities show that PDF is an acceptable format. This position was adopted by the Director of the Tax Chamber in Warsaw in the individual interpretation, ref. No. IPPP1 / 443-995 / 11-2 / AP of September 16, 2011: “(...) the current legal regulations allow for the possibility of sending invoices by e-mail in the form of a PDF file. Thus, both sending and receiving invoices in the form of a PDF file attached to the e-mail addressed to the invoice recipient is tax-equivalent to receiving a paper invoice, provided the authenticity of origin and integrity of the content of the invoices in question are ensured (...) ".

Electronic invoice in 2014

At the beginning of 2014, the definition of an electronic invoice will come into force, which until now has not been used in Polish regulations. According to the newly added Art. 2 clause 32 of the Act on tax on goods and services (VAT), an electronic invoice should be understood as an invoice in electronic form, issued and received in any electronic format.

Invoices created in electronic format that will be sent or received in paper form will not constitute an electronic invoice within the meaning of the above-mentioned article.

On the other hand, invoices drawn up in paper form, which will be converted into electronic format (e.g. in the form of a scan) and then sent and received as e-mail, may be considered electronic invoices. The necessary condition, however, is that the paper version of the invoice is not sent or handed over to the recipient.