VAT (part 12) - registration and registration obligations, part II



The invoice is a commercial document that confirms the business transaction between the seller and the buyer.It should contain details of the transaction made.

Entities obliged and authorized to issue invoices

Pursuant to the VAT Act, the entities obliged to issue invoices are VAT taxpayers who have a tax identification number (NIP). They do it each time after the sale of goods or the performance of a service - the legislator did not provide for the possibility of voluntarily making a decision to issue the above-mentioned document.

VAT taxpayers who benefit from the exemption and who perform only transactions subject to VAT exemption are also entitled to issue invoices. This is a new rule that has been in force since 2013. Importantly, in the case of VAT exempt taxpayers, the use of this privilege does not preclude the possibility of documenting the sale by means of an invoice.

The taxpayer is released from the obligation to issue an invoice when he sells to a natural person who does not conduct business activity. In such a situation, the entrepreneur confirms the transaction with an invoice only at the express request of the buyer.

In addition, apart from the indicated group of entities, the obligation to document the transaction with an invoice also rests on: legal entities, organizational units without legal personality and non-taxable natural persons, performing intra-Community supplies of new means of transport.

Attention!!! Entities that are not registered as VAT exempt taxpayers cannot exercise the right to issue invoices.

If an exempt VAT taxpayer issues an invoice, such a document should not contain the following fields: net, tax rate, gross, or the "-" sign should be placed in these fields.

Invoice elements

Pursuant to the provisions of the invoice regulation, the invoice should, as a rule, contain at least:

  • date of issue,
  • next number,
  • names and surnames or names of the seller and buyer and their addresses,
  • NIP numbers of the seller and the buyer,
  • 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 invoice may include the month and year of sale,
  • name (type) of the goods sold or the service performed,
  • the measure and quantity of goods sold or the scope of services rendered,
  • the net unit price of a good or service,
  • net value of the goods or services provided to which the sale relates,
  • tax rates,
  • 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 of goods (services), broken down into amounts related to individual tax rates,
  • the total amount due.

There are, however, specific situations where additional information should appear on this document. These cases are also covered in the Invoicing Regulation. The elements that should additionally be included in the invoice are:

  • the phrase cash method - in the case of taxpayers with the status of small taxpayers who have chosen the cash method of settling tax on goods and services,
  • the word self-invoicing - when the buyer of the goods or services issues an invoice on behalf of the seller,
  • the phrase margin procedure for travel agencies - in the case of the provision of tourism services for which the tax base is the amount of the margin,
  • the phrase margin procedure - used goods, margin procedure - works of art or margin procedure - collectors and antiques - for the supply of second-hand goods, works of art, collectors' items and antiques for which the tax base is the amount of the margin,
  • reverse charge - in the case of delivery of goods or performance of a service for which the buyer of goods or services is obliged to settle tax, value added tax or a tax of a similar nature,
  • legal basis - in the case of the supply of goods or services to which VAT exemption has been applied,
  • date of approval of the new means of transport for use and the mileage of the vehicle - if the subject of the intra-Community supply are new means of transport,
  • NIP number preceded by the appropriate country code - in the case of intra-community transactions,
  • the annotation "VAT: EC invoice simplified pursuant to Art. 135-138 of the Ptu Act" or "VAT: EC invoice simplified pursuant to Art. 141 of Directive 2006/112 / EC" and a statement that the tax on the supply will be billed by the last the order of the taxpayer of the value added tax - in the case of invoices issued by the taxpayer in the second order, in an intra-Community tripartite transaction (simplified procedure).


Deadlines for issuing an invoice

In general, invoices are issued no later than the seventh day after the goods are handed over or the service has been provided.

The so-called continuous services, where the trader specifies only the month and year of sale on the invoice. In this case, the document is issued no later than the seventh day after the end of the period to which it relates.

Another exception is the receipt of a part or all of the amount due before the goods are delivered or the service is provided (in particular in the form of: prepayment, advance payment, deposit, installment). The invoice shall then be issued no later than on the seventh day from the date on which part or all of the receivables from the buyer have been received. An invoice must be issued on the same date, upon receipt of each subsequent part of the amount due (in the case of advances, prepayments, down payments and installments).

The legislator also provided for a number of exceptions to the above-mentioned deadlines for issuing invoices. In the cases specified in Art. 19 paragraph 10, sec. 13 points 1-4 and 7-11, sec. 16a and 16b and sec. 19a of the VAT Act, the invoice is issued no later than when the tax obligation arises. These are situations related to, among others:

  • delivery of premises and buildings,
  • supply of heat, electricity, cooling and line gas,
  • telecommunications and radiocommunication services,
  • water distribution services,
  • sewage disposal and treatment services,
  • passenger and cargo transport services,
  • forwarding and reloading services,
  • services in sea and commercial ports,
  • construction and construction-assembly services,
  • import of services to which art. 28b of the VAT Act.

These invoices cannot be issued earlier than 30 days before the tax obligation arises, however, it should be remembered that this rule does not apply to the issue of invoices for the supply of electricity, heat or cooling, line gas, telecommunications and radiocommunication services and services listed in item 140-153, 174 and 175 of Annex 3 to the Act, if the invoice contains information about the settlement period.

From January 2013, one invoice can document several separate deliveries of goods or services made during the month, if it is issued no later than the last day of the month in which the goods were issued or the service was performed.

Electronic invoices

More and more entrepreneurs use the possibility of electronic invoices, also known as e-invoices. It is a very convenient solution that allows you to save a lot of time and money. Moreover, such an invoice should contain the same data as its "normal" paper counterpart.

According to the regulation on sending invoices in electronic form, these documents may be sent, including made available, in electronic form in any format, provided that this method of sending invoices has been previously approved by the recipient of the invoice. However, the regulations do not indicate the need to maintain such acceptance in writing or electronically. This means that the taxpayer, on the basis of the presumption of the contractor's consent, may send him e-invoices until the contractor does not object to this matter.

However, in order for an invoice to be issued and sent electronically, it must meet two important conditions - the authenticity of origin and the integrity of the content of the invoice. The taxpayer himself determines how he will ensure these e-document requirements. This can be done with any business checks that establish a reliable audit trail between the invoice and the delivery of goods or the provision of services. Regarding the integrity of the content, it is sufficient to save the invoice in a format that prevents changes to the content (eg PDF). In addition, a secure electronic signature verified by a valid qualified certificate or electronic data interchange (EDI) can be used for this purpose.

Regardless of whether the invoice was issued in paper or electronic form, the entrepreneur has the right to deduct VAT from such a document in the period in which it was received or in one of the two subsequent settlement periods.

The taxpayer is not required to print e-invoices in a situation where the software used to store them prevents changes to the original documents and enables them to be reproduced in the form of a printout. This is due both to the regulation of the Minister of Finance on tax refunds to certain taxpayers, issuing invoices, the method of their storage and the list of goods and services to which the VAT exemption does not apply, as well as numerous tax interpretations.