Mail order sales and VAT since 2014

Service Business

As of January 1, 2014, the act on tax on goods and services will significantly change. So far, the main determinant of the emergence of a tax obligation was the date of invoice, while after the new year, the emergence of a tax obligation on the sale of goods will determine their delivery. This issue also applies to online stores that sell by mail order cash on delivery. In this case, the tax obligation will arise when the buyer receives the goods from the carrier.

The moment when the tax obligation in online commerce arises

Pursuant to Art. 19 paragraph 13 point 6 of the VAT Act, until now, the tax obligation with respect to mail order sales with cash on delivery was established at the time of receipt of payment. However, the concept of "cash on delivery" raised some ambiguities due to frequent decisions of entrepreneurs to use the services of courier companies delivering "cash on delivery" shipments. However, both definitions have not been included in tax regulations, therefore the tax authorities refer to the dictionary of the Polish language when explaining these terms. The term "cash on delivery" postage refers to "sending something by post with the proviso that the item can be picked up by the addressee upon payment of the sum indicated by the buyer". In turn, the return "cash on delivery" is defined as "collecting a certain amount by the mail at the sender's request from the addressee of the shipment", so both definitions practically do not differ from each other.

In the event that the entrepreneur decided to use the services of the post office or courier for the shipment of goods "cash on delivery" or "cash on delivery", the tax obligation arose when the entrepreneur collected the receivables for the goods sold. In practice, it was the moment when the seller received money from Poczta Polska or a courier.

From January 2014, the tax obligation will arise on general principles. This means that there is no separate provision provided for in the amended act with regard to distance selling. On the other hand, the general principles referred to in Art. 19a paragraph. 1, determine the tax obligation at the time of delivery of the goods or performance of the service.

The moment of delivery of the goods by the courier of the buyer is counted

The new regulations indicate that from January 1, 2014, mail order sales will be subject to VAT at the time of handing over the goods to the buyer, even if the entrepreneur has not yet received payment for the goods. There is an exception to this rule, referred to in Art. 19a paragraph. 8. The emergence of a tax obligation may take place even before the goods are delivered, when the entrepreneur has previously received payment or a part of it for the goods. In this case, however, there can be no question of a mail order sale with cash on delivery.

The moment of obligation does not arise when the goods are delivered to the carrier

It should be remembered that the tax obligation under VAT does not arise when the goods are handed over to the carrier. It takes place only from the moment when the goods or services are delivered directly to the customer. Therefore, an important issue from next year will be the detailed documentation by Poczta Polska or the courier of the date of delivery of the goods or services to the buyer. In order for the entrepreneur to be able to correctly settle VAT, you will need a detailed confirmation of the date of receipt of the shipment by the supplier. It also means that invoicing can be a bit more problematic. The above changes indicate that invoices should be issued without information about the date of sale. Such a document will be correct in the light of Art. 106e paragraph. 1 point 6 of the VAT Act, according to which such a date should appear on the document, provided, however, that it has been specified.

Inconsistency in tax regulations

Due to the above, there is a lack of consistency between the provisions of the VAT Act and the Personal Income Tax Act. The date of posting the revenue is the date of sale or receipt of payment, but no later than the date of invoice. It follows that in the case of mail-order sales of goods or services, the revenue should be posted to the tax revenue and expense ledger in accordance with the invoice issuance date, and in the VAT sales register, the tax amount should be included at the time of delivery, based on the confirmation received by the post office or courier .

In order to keep the accounting in the case of mail order sales, the entrepreneur can use an invoicing system that offers to issue an invoice without having to provide information about the date of sale. It is also advisable that the mail-order store be integrated with the courier company, which should regularly provide confirmation of the delivery of goods. In this situation, it is worth considering investing in an accounting system that will enable the correct posting of invoices for mail order sales to the KPiR and VAT register.