Is the date of sale on the invoice still valid?


2014 is the time of a revolution in the field of tax on goods and services. Changes in the regulations each time involve many interpretative doubts, which are dispelled over time by additional studies by the Ministry of Finance or court judgments. This year, taxpayers trying to familiarize themselves with the new regulations at every step encounter dubious issues and wonder how to adapt to changes in regulations in a way that does not raise any objections to the tax authorities. One of them is the use of the term "date of sale" on the invoice - is such a procedure correct in the light of the amended VAT Act? Let's check.

Invoice in the amended VAT Act

A novelty in Polish law that appeared on January 1, 2014 is the definition of an invoice. As Art. 2 point 31 of the VAT Act, a document in paper or electronic form, containing the data required by the Act and regulations issued on its basis, shall be deemed to be it.

The elements that should be included in the invoice are specified in Art. 106e above. legal act. Among them, we find information that the sales document should include the date of completion or completion of the delivery of goods or service or the date of receipt of payment, if such is specified and differs from the invoice issuance date. As it turns out, this provision raises a lot of doubts.

The VAT Act in Art. 2 also defines the concept of "sale" (Art. 2 (22)).According to this provision, it is understood as the supply of goods for consideration and the provision of services for consideration within the territory of the country, the export of goods and the intra-Community supply of goods. As you can see, the date of sale is nothing more than a specific, specific moment of making such a sale, i.e. the delivery of goods or the provision of services. Therefore, in the VAT Act, a synonym for the meaning of the term "date of sale" was indicated.

Date of sale according to tax authorities

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Significant changes to the elements of the invoice appeared at the beginning of 2013 (along with the amendment of the currently non-binding ordinance of the Minister of Finance, inter alia, on the issue of invoices) and then the discussion on the term "date of sale" on the sales document flared up. Concerned taxpayers raised their doubts to the tax authorities, which issued several individual interpretations in response to entrepreneurs' questions. All of them agreed that the use of the term "date of sale" is correct. How was this justified?

For example, in the individual ruling of May 24, 2013 (reference number IPPP2 / 443-300 / 13-2 / DG), the Director of the Tax Chamber in Warsaw states as follows:

“It seems that the terms >> date of delivery of goods <> date of completion of delivery of goods <> date of service <> date of sale <> date of performance of services <> date of delivery of goods <<, because in fact they come down to the same specific moment of the transaction which is the sale. Thus, the use of the date of sale on the invoice, which corresponds to the date of the service or delivery of goods, does not contradict the provisions of tax law, and the invoices prepared in this way should be considered correct. "

The Director of the Tax Chamber in Poznań justifies his position in a similar way in the individual interpretation (reference number ILPP2 / 443-10 / 13-2 / AKr) of April 2, 2013:

"An invoice in which the taxpayer, instead of the >> date of making <> date of sale <> date of sale <> end date, <<, that is, sales made on a continuous basis, when the tax regulations specify their date of making a day earlier than the date of their actual completion.

In summary, the return >> date of sale <> date of delivery of the goods or performance of the service <> date of sale << will actually refer to the date of delivery or performance of the service. As a consequence, the invoice in which the Applicant uses the phrase >> date of sale <> date of delivery of goods or service performance << cannot be considered incorrect. "

Expressions that must be included in the invoice

In the already mentioned Art. 106e of the VAT Act, there are elements that should be included in an invoice as well as words - or expressions - which in certain situations must be included on it. The latter include, for example, the "reverse charge" when selling scrap metal, or the "cash method" for documents issued by small taxpayers. Importantly, in their case, the literal wording of the provisions should be kept. However, this rule does not apply to other data, including dates - the act only specifies the information content of a given invoice field.

An example to confirm the above is the word "discount", which often appears on invoices, although it does not appear in the provisions of the VAT Act. In fact, the aforementioned legal act mentions "the amount of any price rebates or reductions, including in the form of an early payment rebate, if not included in the net unit price". However, it would be simply impractical to use such a long description of the field, which is why the word "discount" is customarily used instead on invoices.


The same applies to the entry "sum of net sales value, broken down into sales subject to individual tax rates and sales exempt from tax". This is also an element that should be included in the invoice in accordance with the VAT Act. However, in practice, such a long field description is not used in the sales document. This is only information about what should appear on the invoice.

The above examples show that the provisions of the Act do not have to be directly transferred to the invoice. So why should it be any different for the "sale date"?

To sum up, taxpayers can still use the wording “date of sale” on invoices without fear in relation to the provision of art. 106b paragraph. 1 point 4 of the VAT Act (the date of the delivery or completion of the delivery of goods or the performance of the service or the date of payment referred to in Article 106b (1) (4), if such date is specified and differs from the invoice issuance date). The terms "delivery date" and "service delivery date" are identical to the "date of sale", which was confirmed by the tax authorities in the interpretations quoted above.