Do you subscribe to magazines? Check when you can deduct VAT!

Service-Tax

Journal subscription - basic information

At the end of the year, the purchase period for subscription to newspapers and magazines for the following year begins. Usually, subscriptions are for a year, half a year or a quarter. They are usually paid in advance on the basis of a pro forma invoice (not subject to record in the accounting books). After the payment is made, an invoice is issued to the buyer. Pursuant to Art. 20 paragraph 1 of the Accounting Act, all the events that took place in a given reporting period should be entered into the books of accounts of the reporting period. This is due to two basic accounting principles:

  • accrual rules

all revenues and costs related to these revenues for a given financial year should be included in the books, regardless of the date of their payment

  • principles of proportionality

it will include costs or revenues relating to future periods and costs attributable to this reporting period that have not yet been incurred.

Attention!

Pursuant to Art. 22 of the Personal Income Tax Act, tax deductible costs are costs incurred in order to generate income or to maintain or secure a source of income.

 

The incurred expense may be considered a tax deductible cost if it relates to business activity. In such a case, it is necessary to prove its relationship with the earned or expected income. This points to the fact that not every expenditure incurred by a taxpayer is a tax expense. In the case of subscriptions, it is easy to prove that the knowledge and information contained in the press help the entrepreneur in the day-to-day running of the business. This rule also applies to subscriptions to national dailies with economic and legal sections.

A significant difference can be observed when registering invoices for paper magazines and electronic journals. The possibility of deducting VAT for the received invoices for magazine subscriptions raises many questions, as a tax obligation arises in a different period.

Subscription to magazines in the paper version

In the case of an invoice including a subscription in a paper version, regardless of the time when we pay for it, VAT can be deducted in the VAT-7 declaration not earlier than in the month of issuing or receiving the invoice.

The tax obligation arises at the time of receipt of all or part of the payment, if it occurred before the delivery or at the time of issuing the invoice. The right to deduct input tax from invoices for the purchase of magazines always arises in the billing period of receiving the invoice.

Therefore, invoices for the supply of paper magazines document the deliveries of goods for which the seller's tax obligation has already arisen (at the time of issue). So the right to deduct the input tax from the invoice for the purchase of a subscription to paper magazines always arises in the settlement period of receiving these invoices.

Important!

An invoice for the delivery of paper magazines should be issued within 60 days of delivery and no earlier than 30 days before delivery.

Electronic journal subscription

However, if the entrepreneur purchases a subscription to the magazine in electronic form, then the possibility of deducting VAT from the invoice depends on the payment. This is because it is the purchase of a service for which the tax obligation arises on the general principles specified in art. 19a paragraph. 1 and 8 of the VAT Act. Therefore:

  • issuing an invoice before the end of the subscription for 2016 will not create a VAT obligation for the seller;

  • while paying the invoice for the subscription before the end of the subscription period (i.e. before the service is provided) would then result in a tax liability for this service with the seller, in accordance with Art. 19a paragraph. 8 of the VAT Act.

This means that issuing an invoice does not create a tax obligation. Only paying the invoice will result in a tax liability for the seller. So, a deduction of VAT for electronic subscription of magazines can be made in the VAT-7 declaration for the month in which the payment was made.

Example 1.

At the beginning of October 2015, the entrepreneur received an invoice for the subscription to the journal for 2016. He paid the invoice at the beginning of November 2015. In such a case, if:

  • the invoice documents the subscription to the electronic journal - VAT can be deducted from it at the earliest within the VAT-7 declaration for November 2015.

  • the invoice documents the subscription to a paper magazine - VAT can be deducted from it as part of the VAT-7 declaration for October 2015.