Correction note issued by a natural person

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It would seem that the question in the above scope is irrelevant, because the obligations related to issuing invoices apply only to taxpayers of the tax on goods and services, i.e. entities conducting business activity within the meaning of Art. 15 sec. 2 above legal act. However, if the above requirement is combined with the possibility of receiving the so-called invoices on demand, the matter is not so clear-cut. Therefore, is a correction note issued by a natural person a document permissible under tax regulations?

Correction note - definition

Legal regulations regarding the issue of corrective notes are contained in Art. 106k of the Value Added Tax Act. According to it, the buyer of goods or services who received an invoice containing errors, except for errors in the scope of data specified in art. 106e paragraph. 1 items 8-15, may issue an invoice called a correction note. Moreover, as it results from par. 2 above the corrective note regulation requires the approval of the invoice issuer. In turn, in paragraph 3 of this article lists the elements that should be included in such a document.

And so, the corrective note should contain:

  1. the words "CORRECTING NOTE";
  2. sequential number and date of issue;
  3. the first and last names or names of the taxpayer and the buyer of the goods or services and their addresses and number by which the taxpayer is identified for tax purposes, as well as the number by which the buyer of goods or services is identified for the purposes of tax or value added tax;
  4. the data contained in the invoice to which the invoice referred to in paragraph 1, referred to in Art. 106e paragraph. 1 points 1-6;
  5. indication of the content of the corrected information and the correct content.

It is generally accepted that a corrective note can only correct the so-called formal errors (minor errors). It is therefore all data that does not have any impact on the amount of tax resulting from a defective invoice. Invoice errors that involve, for example, a change in the tax rate, net amount, measure and quantity of delivered goods are corrected by correcting the invoice, which is usually issued by the seller.

Example 1.

The taxpayer provided a construction service to a private individual. The 8% rate was incorrectly used in the invoice. The service was not related to the construction industry covered by the social housing program within the meaning of Art. 41 sec. 12a of the Value Added Tax Act. In this case, the only legal possibility to "repair" the invoice is the issuing of a correcting invoice by the service provider. It is not possible to correct this error in the form of a corrective note.

Correction note issued by a natural person

The main argument for the fact that entities that are not VAT payers may issue a correcting note is that the legislator uses different terms in the VAT Act to define the seller and the buyer. In the case of the former, it is referred to as the taxpayer, while for the buyer, the word "buyer" is used. What is equally important, in the provisions on invoices, the legislator remains exceptionally consistent in the use of this terminology.

By way of example, it should be noted that:

  • in art. 106e paragraph. 1 point 3 specifies that the invoice should contain the first and last names or names of the taxpayer and the buyer of the goods or services and their addresses,
  • in art. 106b paragraph. 3 indicates that at the request of the buyer of the goods or service, the taxpayer is obliged to issue an invoice documenting (...),
  • in art. 106 g of paragraph 1. 1 indicates, in turn, that invoices are issued at least in two copies, one of which is received by the buyer, and the other is kept in its documentation by the taxpayer making the sale,
  • in art. 106k paragraph. 1, it was finally indicated that the buyer of goods or services who received an invoice containing errors, except for errors in the scope of data specified in Art. 106e paragraph. 1 items 8-15, may issue an invoice called a correction note.

It follows from the above-mentioned legal regulations that the legislator does not identify the acquirer only with the person of the taxpayer within the meaning of Art. 15 sec. 1 and 2 above legal act. As indicated above, the term "buyer" was used to describe the entity that is the buyer of the goods or service. This leads unequivocally to the conclusion that the corrective note issued by a natural person complies with the applicable regulations. This is confirmed by the fact that the Act on tax on goods and services allows these entities to receive an invoice on request.

When should an invoice be issued?

As it follows from the content of Art. 106b paragraph. 3, at the request of the buyer of the goods or services, the taxpayer is obliged to issue an invoice documenting:

  • the activities referred to in para. 1 point 1 art. 106b (i.e. sale), with the exception of the activities referred to in art. 19a paragraph. 5 point 4, and receipt of all or part of the payment before performing these activities, except in the case when the payment concerns intra-Community delivery of goods - if the obligation to issue an invoice does not result from paragraph 1,
  • the sale exempt, referred to in paragraph 2, subject to article 22. 117 point 1 and article. 118

- if the request for its issue was made within 3 months from the end of the month in which the goods were delivered or the service was performed, or the whole or part of the payment was received.

Therefore, since a buyer of goods / services who is not a VAT payer has the right to receive an invoice, the more so is the opportunity to receive this document without errors. However, if such an error appears, and it does not constitute an error that affects the value of the tax, it can be corrected by issuing a correction note.

It should be noted that a similar position is also presented by the tax authorities. One of the interpretations indicated that: Taking into account the description of the future event presented in the application and the content of the provisions referred to in the field of tax on goods and services, the Applicant's view that he is entitled to issue correcting notes to the invoices referred to in the application should be confirmed. Although the Applicant has acquired construction materials as a natural person not conducting business activity, it also has the status of a VAT taxpayer. Therefore, the condition (resulting from Art. 106b (1) of the Act) is met, that a correcting note - as a variant of an "ordinary" invoice - should be issued by a taxpayer of value added tax. In addition, the corrected content will not apply to items for which the application of the corrective note is excluded (cf. Article 106k paragraph 1 in connection with Article 106e paragraph 1 items 8-15 of the Act) (ITPP3 / 443-264 / 14 / MD, August 19, 2014, Director of the Tax Chamber in Bydgoszcz).

Example 2.

A natural person purchased a computer for private use in January 2017. A seller who is a direct distributor of a well-known brand of computer equipment issued an invoice at the customer's request. The sales contract with the guarantee provided for the possibility of returning the object of sale as part of the settlement when purchasing new equipment, provided that the serial number of the product was provided, which had to be shown on the invoice issued. By mistake, the issued invoice did not contain the number required by the contract, which in practice prevented the buyer from returning the old computer to the settlement. In this case, a correction note issued by a natural person will apply, which can be supplemented with the error indicated above. Indeed, the inclusion of the required serial number on the original invoice will in no way affect the value of the tax.