What requirements must an electronic invoice meet?
INDIVIDUAL INTERPRETATION of July 3, 2008, file ref. IP-PP2-443-619 / 08-2 / BM, Director of the Tax Chamber in Warsaw
An electronic invoice document in the form of a PDF file, bearing a secure electronic signature ensuring the authenticity of the invoice origin and its integrity, verified using the Sigillum certificate, sent to the recipient via e-mail, does not meet the requirements for electronic invoice transmission and cannot be considered an invoice identical to the invoice issued in paper form.
Based on Article. 14b § 1 and § 6 of the Act of August 29, 1997 - Tax Ordinance (consolidated text Journal of Laws of 2005, No. 8, item 60, as amended) and § 7 of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of 20 June 2007 on the authorization to issue interpretations of tax law (Journal of Laws of 2007, No. 112, item 770) The Director of the Tax Chamber in Warsaw, acting on behalf of the Minister of Finance, states that the Applicant's position presented in the application of April 4, 2008 (date of receipt: April 11, 2008) for a written interpretation of the tax law regarding value added tax in the scope of VAT invoices sent electronically - is incorrect.
On April 11, 2008, an application was submitted for a written interpretation of the tax law in an individual case concerning value added tax in the scope of VAT invoices sent in electronic form.
The following facts are presented in the present proposal.
The applicant is a VAT taxpayer, obliged under the provisions of the Value Added Tax Act to issue invoices confirming the sale. Based on the provisions of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance on issuing and sending invoices in electronic form, the Company introduced the possibility of issuing VAT invoices documenting the sale of services in electronic form.
The electronic invoice document is in the form of a PDF file. Invoices are signed with a secure, electronic signature within the meaning of the Act of 18 September 2001 on Electronic Signature (Journal of Laws No. 130, item 1450, as amended), verified with a valid qualified certificate (hereinafter: qualified signature ). The electronic signature used by the Company ensures the authenticity of the origin of the invoice and its integrity. A qualified signature is integrated with the invoice file in such a way that any subsequent change of this data (invoice content) is recognizable. Any possible change of the invoice document will result in the verifying person being informed during the signature verification that the document has been changed. To verify the electronic signature used to sign invoices, the Company uses the Sigillum certificate which is a qualified certificate within the meaning of the Electronic Signature Act.
The supplier of the certificates is the company X providing qualified certification services, authorized to issue qualified certificates (entered in the register of qualified entities providing certification services kept by the minister responsible for economy).
The persons signing the electronic signature on the invoice document are authorized employees of the Company, the list of which is publicly available on the Company's website. The list is subject to modification if the certificate or authorization to sign invoices expires. In addition, all electronic invoices issued by the Taxpayer are time-stamped, which means that the electronic document is stamped with reliable time, which, according to the Electronic Signature Act, is a "sure date" within the meaning of the Civil Code.
Duplicates and corrections of electronic invoices issued by the Applicant are provided with the same qualified signature verified with a qualified certificate as the original invoices and are also time-stamped.
The authenticity and integrity of the electronic invoice can be verified using an application prepared and made available free of charge by X S.A. VAT invoices are issued in electronic form after the buyer has previously submitted to the Applicant a written approval for issuing and sending invoices in this form. An electronic invoice is delivered via e-mail to the address provided by the recipient.
In light of the above, the following questions were asked:
In the presented facts, do the electronic invoices issued by the Applicant, then sent to the recipient via e-mail, constitute an electronic invoice within the meaning of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of July 14, 2005 on issuing and sending invoices in electronic form, as well as storing and sharing the tax authority or the tax inspection authority of these invoices (Journal of Laws No. 133, item 1119) and whether they meet the requirement to issue an invoice specified in Art. 106 sec. 1 of the Value Added Tax Act?
Is the electronic invoice issued and sent in the above-described manner formally equivalent to the VAT invoice document referred to in Art. 106 sec. 1 of the act on tax on goods and services, prepared in paper form?
In the opinion of the Applicant, the invoices issued by the Company in electronic form meet the requirements of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of July 14, 2005 on issuing and sending invoices in electronic form, as well as storing and making these invoices available to the tax authority or tax inspection authority. Invoices are issued and sent in electronic form based on the written acceptance of this form by the recipient of the invoice, as required by § 3 of this regulation. The authenticity of their origin and the integrity of the content is guaranteed by a secure electronic signature verified with a valid qualified certificate and meets the requirements set out in § 4 of this regulation. Sending an invoice via e-mail is one of the methods of sending an electronic invoice indicated in § 2 of this regulation. Issuance of an invoice by the Applicant in an electronic form and sending it via e-mail is the fulfillment of the obligation to issue an invoice, as defined by the provisions of Art. 106 sec. 1 of the act on tax on goods and services. The electronic invoice issued and sent by the Company in the above-described manner is formally equivalent to the VAT invoice document referred to in Art. 106 sec. 1 of the Act on tax on goods and services, drawn up in paper form.
In the light of the applicable legal status, the applicant's position on the legal assessment of the presented facts is considered incorrect.
Pursuant to Art. 106 sec. 1 of the Act of March 11, 2004 on tax on goods and services (Journal of Laws No. 54, item 535, as amended), hereinafter referred to as the VAT Act, taxpayers referred to in Art. 15, are required to issue an invoice stating, in particular, the sale, date of sale, unit price without tax, tax base, tax rate and amount, the amount of the duty and the data of the taxpayer and the buyer, subject to paragraph 2. 2, 4 and 5 and article. 119 paragraph. 10 and art. 120 paragraph 16.
The provisions of the Value Added Tax Act and implementing acts provide for two forms of invoices: paper and electronic. The rules for issuing and storing VAT invoices are governed by the provisions of Chapter 4 of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of May 25, 2005 on tax refund to certain taxpayers, advance tax refund, rules for issuing invoices, how to store them and the list of goods and services to which the exemption does not apply. on tax on goods and services (Journal of Laws No. 95, item 798, as amended), issued on the basis of the delegation contained in Art. 106 sec. 8 above the Value Added Tax Act.
These rules apply to both invoices issued in paper and electronic form, the latter form requiring the fulfillment of additional conditions referred to in the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of July 14, 2005 on issuing and sending invoices in electronic form, as well as storing and making these invoices available to the tax authority or the tax inspection authority (Journal of Laws No. 133, item 1119), issued on the basis of the delegation contained in Art. 106 sec. 10 and 11 above the law.
The facts presented by the Applicant indicate that he intends to send his contractors (if they agree), via e-mail to the address indicated by the recipient, invoices in electronic form as PDF files with a secure electronic signature. The authenticity and integrity of the electronic invoice is to be verified using an application prepared and made available free of charge by X.
Pursuant to § 2 para. 1 above of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of July 14, 2005, invoices issued in electronic form are sent, including made available, in this form to the recipient and stored in this form using electronic devices for processing (including digital compression) and data storage, using wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic means.
Pursuant to § 4 of this regulation, invoices may be issued, sent and stored in electronic form, provided that the authenticity of their origin and the integrity of their content will be guaranteed:
- a secure electronic signature within the meaning of Art. 3 point 2 of the Act of September 18, 2001 on electronic signature (Journal of Laws No. 130, item 1450, as amended), verified with a valid qualified certificate, or
- by electronic data exchange (EDI) in accordance with an agreement on the European Electronic Data Exchange Model, if the concluded agreement relating to this exchange provides for the application of procedures guaranteeing the authenticity of the origin of the invoice and data integrity
The agreement on the European EDI model was described in the Recommendation of the European Commission of October 19, 1994, No. 1994/820 / EC, relating to the legal aspects of electronic data interchange (Journal of Laws UE L 338 of December 28, 1994). Bearing in mind the above provision, it should be clarified that Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems have been a standard in the field of electronic business communication since the 1980s. They constitute a kind of electronic language that enables enterprises using various communication and information technologies to exchange commercial data freely and securely. The purpose of implementing the EDI system is to enable the transfer of electronic data (eg electronic "e-invoices") between different, essentially incompatible IT systems. The main feature of EDI systems is that entrepreneurs implementing such a system adopt a specific standard of data recording for the purposes of mutual electronic communication. Therefore, the main feature of EDI systems is the translation of messages from various systems into coded messages using a single, previously defined and understandable for all communication participants, standard of data recording. As a rule, EDI systems integrate various IT systems, between which there are (generally irremovable) technical differences, e.g. with regard to the storage and presentation of transferred data.
It should be emphasized that the essential requirement resulting from the regulation of 14 July 2005, for electronic invoices, is the requirement to maintain the integrity of the data contained in the invoice and to ensure its authenticity, and this can only be met using the electronic data interchange (EDI) system.
Bearing the above in mind, it should be stated that the essential requirement resulting from the regulation of 14 July 2005, imposed on electronic invoices, is the requirement to maintain the integrity of the data contained in the invoice and to ensure its authenticity, and this can only be met using the electronic data exchange system ( ...). In connection with the above, it should be stated that the method of sending invoices in electronic form described by the Company does not comply with the requirements referred to in the above-mentioned regulations. Thus, such an invoice cannot be considered as identical to an invoice issued in paper form. The legislator deliberately introduced restrictions on the operation of electronic invoices, which do not apply to transfers made by post, courier or in person. Therefore, if the parties to the transaction want to send invoices in electronic form, and not in paper, they must comply with the provisions of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of July 14, 2005 on issuing and sending invoices in electronic form.
The interpretation concerns the factual state presented by the applicant and the legal state in force on the date of the occurrence in the presented factual state.
The party has the right to lodge a complaint against this interpretation of tax law due to its inconsistency with the law. The complaint is to be lodged with the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw, ul. Jasna 2/4, 00-013 Warsaw, after a prior written request from the authority that issued the interpretation within 14 days from the date on which the complainant learned or could learn about its issuance - until the violation of the law was remedied (Article 52 § 3 of the Act of August 30, 2002 - Law on proceedings before administrative courts - Journal of Laws No. 153, item 1270, as amended). A complaint to the Voivodship Administrative Court (in two copies - Art. 47 of the above-mentioned Act) shall be lodged within thirty days from the date of delivery of the authority's response to the summons to remedy the infringement of the law, and if the authority did not reply to the summons, within sixty days from the date of submitting the complaint. summons (Art. 53 § 2 of the above-mentioned Act).
The complaint is lodged through the body whose action or inaction is the subject of the complaint (Article 54 § 1 of the above-mentioned Act) to the following address: Tax Chamber in Warsaw, National Tax Information Office in Płock, ul. 1 May 10, 09-402 Płock.