Earlier invoicing - for and against
At the beginning of 2014, the amended provisions of the Value Added Tax Act will come into force. The changes will concern basic issues, such as the moment when the tax obligation arises or the deadlines for issuing invoices. Therefore, it is worth getting acquainted with the regulations that will enter into force in a few weeks and taking a special look at some of them.
The moment when the tax obligation arises
From January 2014, the rule according to which the tax obligation under VAT is strictly related to the date of issuing the invoice will cease to apply. Currently, in the case of a sale that should be confirmed with such a document, it is created upon issuing the invoice, but no later than on the 7th day from the date of delivery of the goods or performance of the service. From the moment the new regulations enter into force, this obligation will, as a rule, arise when the delivery or service is performed.
Therefore, the link between the invoice issuance and the tax liability will be severed, and therefore the provisions on the invoice issuance time limits may be liberalized.
Deadlines for issuing invoices in 2014
Until the end of 2013, sales to entities other than natural persons who do not conduct business activity should be documented with invoices. As already mentioned, the general rule stipulates that this document is to be issued no later than the 7th day from the date of delivery of the goods or performance of the service. Pursuant to the amended regulations, the time during which the invoice should be issued will be extended.
From January of the coming year, it will be possible to issue an invoice no later than on the 15th day from the end of the month in which the goods were delivered or the service was performed. What's more, the legislator provided for the possibility of issuing an invoice before the sale is made - it will be possible to issue it no more than 30 days before the delivery or performance of the service.
The taxpayer provided the service on October 29. According to the regulations currently in force, the invoice should be issued between October 29 and November 5. Under the new regulations, the same entrepreneur could issue an invoice between September 29 (30 days before the service is provided) and November 15.
It should be noted that in accordance with the new Art. 106i paragraph. 7, the taxpayer has the right to issue an invoice 30 days before:
delivery of goods or performance of a service; the exception is the delivery and provision of services referred to in art. 19a paragraph. 3, 4 and sec. 5 point 4 of the VAT Act (e.g. utilities) - if the invoice contains information about the settlement period it concerns, it can be issued earlier than the indicated 30 days before;
receiving, prior to the delivery of goods or the performance of a service, all or part of the payment.
Therefore, if the taxpayer knows the future date of the sale transaction, which does not exceed the statutory 30 days, it may invoice the transaction earlier. What are the consequences of such a provision?
There are no down payment invoices, but what about late deliveries?
Such a solution will certainly contribute to reducing the number of documents in business transactions - in the event of receiving an advance payment, prepayment or various types of orders to be completed within 30 days, there will be no need to issue advance and final invoices - it is enough to issue an "ordinary" invoice . However, the question arises - what if in such a situation the delivery of goods or the performance of the service will not take place within 30 days or will not take place at all?
Well, the answer to this question cannot be found in the provisions of the new VAT Act. From the aforementioned Art. 106i paragraph. 7 clearly shows the earliest date when an invoice can be issued. If, after 30 days from the date of issuing the invoice, will the entrepreneur not deliver the goods or perform the service, will the entrepreneur breach the provisions of the act? It is worth mentioning that such situations are directly referred to in Art. 62 sec. 1 of the Fiscal Penal Code, according to which "who, contrary to the obligation, fails to issue an invoice or bill for the performance of the service, issues them defective or refuses to issue them, is subject to a fine of up to 180 daily rates".
It is also difficult to predict how the tax authorities will approach the situation when the taxpayer, despite the lack of delivery or service, pays VAT in accordance with the regulations on the previously issued invoice. Will the law be broken in this case as well and the entrepreneur may be punished?
In connection with the possibility of issuing an invoice earlier, another doubt arises - what are the consequences of receiving such a document by the buyer? Until the end of 2013, in the vast majority of cases, the date of receipt of the invoice was directly related to the right to deduct VAT indicated on it. From 2014, taxpayers will be forced to watch two dates - the receipt of the invoice and the delivery of goods or provision of a service, because the buyer's right to deduct tax on goods and services is directly related to the tax obligation on the seller's side. Therefore, receipt of the invoice before the actual sale will not allow VAT to be deducted.
To sum up, the changes in the field of tax on goods and services that will enter into force from the beginning of 2014 raise a lot of controversy. Therefore, taxpayers face a period of uncertainty and waiting for tax authorities to issue interpretations of the new regulations and the methods of their application by entrepreneurs.