Invoicing rules and business checks?
Analyzing the provisions on the rules for issuing and storing invoices, after the changes that came into force on January 1, 2013, it can be concluded that it is necessary from the entrepreneur's point of view to introduce codified rules, in other words, the rules for issuing and storing invoices.
Do you need to have regulations for issuing invoices?
The regulations impose an obligation on the invoice issuer to ensure the authenticity of origin, integrity and legibility of invoices through any business controls that should ensure a verifiable link between the invoice and the delivery of goods or provision of services. The above results directly from the Ordinance of the Minister of Finance of March 28, 2011 on tax refunds to certain taxpayers, issuing invoices, their storage and the list of goods and services to which VAT exemptions do not apply, legal status as of 01.01. 2013 year
“§ 20a. 1. The taxpayer determines the method of ensuring the authenticity of the origin, integrity of the content and legibility of the invoice.
2. The authenticity of origin, integrity of content and legibility of an invoice can be ensured by any business controls that establish a reliable audit trail between the invoice and the delivery of goods or provision of services. "
As you can see, the provision itself does not require the creation of rules for issuing invoices. There is no choice of business control measures in this regard.
However, there is still a problematic wording "The taxpayer determines…." which suggests the need to perform any activities and record them in order to demonstrate the fulfillment of this obligation before the control authorities.
Of course, you can read directly in the brochure on invoicing on the website of the Ministry of Finance www.mf.gov.pl "The entrepreneur is not obliged to use any technical processes and implement any regulations.". The definition of business controls can also be found there.
Business controls - what they are
The information available on the website of the Ministry of Finance states that:
- it is a process created, implemented and updated by persons responsible for obtaining sufficient assurance regarding financial, accounting and supervisory reporting and their compliance with legal requirements.
- this is the process by which the taxpayer creates, implements and updates a sufficient level of certainty as to the identity of the supplier or service provider or invoice issuer (authenticity of origin), that VAT data has not been changed (content integrity) and for legibility invoices from the time of issuing the invoice until the end of the storage period.
- should be appropriate to the size, activity and type of the taxpayer, and should take into account the number and value of transactions as well as the number and type of suppliers or service providers and buyers or recipients.
In addition, an example of such a control is given in the materials:
- there is "matching" to the invoice with supporting documents, such as an order, contract, transport document or request for payment.
The weight of the document itself, which is the invoice, was also determined:
- It is important to remember that paper or electronic invoices are generally only one of the documents in a set of documents relating to and documenting a transaction.
In the summary, we read about business control:
- Business control meets the requirements of these regulations if it provides a certain control path through which the invoice can be linked with the underlying delivery / service. This can be done within the framework of well-established accounting knowledge, but e.g. also by manually comparing the invoice with existing commercial documents (e.g. copy of the order, order, purchase contract, delivery note, transfer or payment confirmation).
The authenticity, integrity and legibility of the content of the invoice
The authenticity of the invoice should be understood as the certainty of information about the contractor of the service, the supplier of the goods or the issuer of the document. So far, the most information on this topic can be found in studies on electronic invoices. In the above case, the proposed methods of ensuring the authenticity are:
- qualified electronic signature
- EDI electronic data exchange system,
Paper documents may (currently do not have to) be signed with the issuer's signature.
The integrity of the content is understood as ensuring that the original data that was included in the invoice have not been changed,
Legibility is the constant ensuring that documents can be read until the events are time-barred under other regulations, which are documented by the invoices concerned.
When and why will the invoice regulations be useful?
Bearing in mind the above-mentioned issues, contained in the regulation - "The taxpayer determines ...." and wanting to protect themselves against various interpretations of the moment of the controlling authorities.
The taxpayer may create individual invoicing regulations in his company.
It should define the internal and external circulation of documents in the company, both those received from contractors and those issued by the company. In addition to the previously mentioned data on the methods of maintaining the authenticity, legibility and integrity of invoices, such a document should contain information on the legal basis according to which the entrepreneur is entitled to issue them, and on all persons who can issue and receive invoices. In addition, it should also include the methods of issuing, sending and storing invoices and the numbering series that are used on them.