Recognizing the receipt of invoices as effective for VAT purposes by printing them from PDF files sent by e-mail

Service-Tax

INDIVIDUAL INTERPRETATION IP-PP2-443-496 / 09-2 / BM 7.07.2012 r. Tax Chamber in Warsaw

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 § 8 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 May 5, 2009 (date of receipt May 11, 2009) for a written interpretation of the tax law regarding value added tax in terms of the possibility of deducting VAT resulting from a VAT invoice sent electronically - is incorrect.

JUSTIFICATION

On May 11, 2009, an application was submitted for a written interpretation of the tax law in an individual case concerning value added tax in the scope of the possibility of deducting VAT resulting from a VAT invoice sent in an electronic form.

The following future event is presented in this proposal:

Private Limited company. is a company belonging to the international concern P. As part of the P concern, it is considered to introduce a solution whereby the invoices issued in the SAP IT system by one entity from the P group to another entity belonging to this group would be simultaneously sent in the form of PDF file to email (e-mail) and sent to the recipient. The recipient of the invoice could therefore receive it as a PDF file almost immediately after issuing it. The invoice sent as a PDF file would then be printed by its recipient and stored in paper form for the period required by law. The Company would act both as the issuer and the recipient of such invoices.

Another solution under consideration is the printing of invoices issued by individual entities from the P group to the Company on a printer located at the registered office of the Company (invoice recipients). Similarly, the Company, by issuing invoices to entities from the P group, would enable the printing of these invoices on printers located at the premises of these entities. This solution can have two technical variants:

    1. the first one would consist in the fact that the Company would receive an authorization from other entities from the P group to print invoices issued for it directly from the IT financial systems of these entities, i.e. invoice issuers.

Granting the authorization would entail granting appropriate access to certain persons to the IT systems of the invoice issuers (entities from the P group) in the scope of printing invoices issued for the Company. In this case, the printout would be initiated by the Company after it has received information about the issuing of the invoice by its issuer. Similarly, the Company would enable the same activities for entities from the P group, for which the Company would issue invoices;

  1. the second technical option would be that the printer located at the Company's seat would be connected to the IT network in such a way that issuers of invoices for the benefit of the Company, being entities from the P group, would be able to print invoices directly on this printer. In this case, the printout would be initiated by the invoice issuer without the participation of the Company. The role of the Company would be limited to collecting printed invoices from the printer. A similar solution would be available to entities for which the Company would issue invoices.

The company explains that the invoices for the Company will be both domestic and foreign entities belonging to the P group. The company will also issue invoices to domestic and foreign entities from the P group. The above solutions would not apply to invoices issued by or for entities outside the P group. .

In light of the above, the following questions were asked:

  1. Is it effective for VAT purposes, i.e. giving the right to deduct VAT in the periods specified in the VAT Act, the receipt of invoices by printing them from PDF files sent by e-mail?
  2. Will the invoices printed by the Company on a printer located at the Company's seat directly from the financial systems of other entities belonging to the P group be considered as received by the Company in a manner giving the right to deduct VAT in the periods specified in the VAT Act?
  3. Can the invoices printed by their issuer on a printer located at the Company's headquarters, which will be properly connected to the IT system used by the invoice issuer, be considered as received by the Company in a manner giving the right to deduct VAT in the periods indicated in the VAT Act.
  4. Does the disclosure of invoices issued by the Company to entities from the P group using the methods presented in the description of the future event comply with the requirements provided for in tax regulations, and in particular does not violate the provisions on issuing invoices?

In the opinion of the Company, in all cases indicated in questions 1-3, the receipt of invoices by the Company will be effective for VAT purposes, i.e. the Company will be entitled to reduce the amount of tax due by the input tax resulting from the invoices thus received in the settlement for the month of receipt of the invoice or in the settlement for any of the two consecutive months, provided that the other conditions for reducing output VAT by input VAT are met.

The common position of the Company for questions 1-3

Pursuant to Art. 86 sec. 1 of the VAT Act, to the extent that goods and services are used to perform taxable activities, the taxpayer is generally entitled to reduce the amount of tax due by the amount of input tax. In turn, art. 86 sec. 2 point 1 letter a) of this Act stipulates that the amount of input tax is, in particular, the sum of the tax amounts specified in the invoices received by the taxpayer. The above list of provisions of the VAT Act shows that the right to reduce the amount of VAT due by input tax was not conditional on the receipt of an invoice and the invoice is only relevant for the purpose of determining the amount of input tax. In addition, the date of receipt of the invoice is important to determine in the settlement for which the tax period the taxpayer may reduce the amount of tax due by input tax (Article 86 (10) and (11) of the VAT Act).

The provisions of the VAT Act do not define the concept of "receive", which means that in order to determine the meaning of this term, its understanding in the common language should be taken into account. According to the PWN Dictionary of Polish Language, PWN Scientific Publishers, Warsaw 1999: "to receive" (the dictionary gives the meaning of the imperfective verb "to receive") means "to become the recipient of something, to receive something as a gift or in exchange for something". In this sense, the Company will receive an invoice both in the case of a PDF file sent to it by e-mail, as well as by printing the invoice directly from the invoice issuer's financial system, as well as by collecting the invoice from the printer located at its headquarters, on which it will be printed at the invoice issuer's initiative.

The Company's position on the question No. 1

It should be noted that the tax regulations do not specify what activities should lead to the "receipt" of the invoice. Thus, "receipt of an invoice may be effected by any means, including sending a PDF file by e-mail. This understanding is also indicated by the fact that the legislator does not refer in any way to activities that should be performed by the issuer of the invoice or any other means. in order for the invoice to be received by the recipient. In other words, it does not mention the method of delivering the invoice to the recipient. In particular, the provisions of the VAT Act do not require the invoice to be "delivered" within the meaning of the Tax Ordinance. , but with the term "receipt" of the invoice. The above means that the method / means by which the invoice is delivered to the recipient is indifferent from the point of view of the provisions of the VAT Act. By e-mail The invoice issuer will mark one copy as the original and the other as a copy, with the original being sent to him handing over the invoice recipient. In the case at hand, delivery would be made by e-mail. It should be emphasized that the presented solution does not contradict 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 (Journal of Laws No. 133, item 1119), hereinafter referred to as the "regulation on electronic invoices", as these invoices will be paper documents and not electronic. In this form, after printing, they will be stored by the Company and made available to the tax authorities upon their request. Similarly, the invoice issuer will store them and make them available to the authorities in paper form. However, the above regulation is applicable if the entire invoicing process is performed electronically, i.e. the invoice does not have a paper form, is issued, sent, stored and made available electronically, and only when requested by the tax authorities, the e-invoice is printed. However, this printout does not have the value of an invoice as it is only in electronic form.In the considered future state, only invoices would be delivered electronically. Therefore, it cannot be argued that in this case there would be any circumvention of the law, as there are no regulations governing the way of delivering invoices to the recipient in the paper form.

Moreover, it should be noted that the Company would receive invoices from both domestic and foreign entities. The behavior of the latter is not regulated by Polish VAT regulations, therefore any potential obstacles resulting from the interpretation of Polish tax regulations regarding the issuing and delivery of invoices by foreign entities would not apply to these entities, and the refusal to the Company of the right to deduct VAT resulting from such invoices could lead to a breach of the principle of the neutrality of that tax.

Therefore, the receipt of VAT invoices by the Company by printing them from a PDF file sent to the Company by e-mail should be considered effective for the purposes of VAT deduction. The date of printing the invoice, which is the date of receipt, will be important for determining the settlement period in which the input VAT resulting from this invoice can be deducted by the Company.

The Company's position on the question No. 2

In the opinion of the Company, receiving invoices by printing them directly from the financial system of the issuers of these invoices is effective for the deduction of VAT indicated in them. In this case, the Company, having information about issuing an invoice in the SAP system (about entering data into the invoice format by its issuer and selecting the option to accept the issuance of the invoice) and having the appropriate authorization to print the invoice directly from the issuer's financial system, would print the originals of such invoices on its own, while printing copies of the invoices would be made by their issuer. As in the future event to which question No. I relates, also in this case the only valid form of the invoice will be its paper form. It should be noted that in this case, the data will only be transferred from the computer to the printer, as it happens in each case of issuing an invoice using a computer program, but the printer will be located at the Company's seat, not at the exhibitor's seat. invoices. The company, by printing the invoice marked as the original, will come into its possession, and therefore will receive it within the meaning of the provisions of the VAT Act (Article 86 (2) (1) (a), para. 10 and paragraph 11). The date of printing the invoice, which is the date of receipt, will be important for determining the settlement period in which the input VAT resulting from this invoice can be deducted by the Company.

The Company's position on the question No. 3

In the opinion of the Company, receiving original invoices from a printer, printed on the initiative of issuers of invoices on a printer located at the Company's registered office, constitutes "receipt" of an invoice referred to in the provisions on VAT (Article 86 (2) (1) (a), para. 10 and paragraph 11). In this case, the printer located at the Company's premises would be connected to the IT network in such a way that the invoice issuer could print the original invoice directly on this printer. The company would not take any steps to print the invoice in question, but would only download the printed original invoice (in paper form) from the printer. In the analyzed case, "receiving" an invoice would be the same as, for example, delivering invoices by their issuer to the reception desk of the Company, from where they would be collected by a designated person for forwarding to the accounting department. In both cases, invoices would have to be printed, and after they are printed, the original invoices would have to be handed over to the Company. It does not have any legal significance on whose printer and where (the exhibitor's seat, recipient's seat, other place) the invoices are printed by the issuer at the time of issue.

In connection with the above, the Company believes that the invoices received in the above manner will document the amount of the deductible input tax in the settlement periods specified in the provisions of the VAT Act, i.e. in the month of receipt of the invoice in this manner or in two consecutive settlement periods (Art. 86 (2) (1) (a), sec. 10 and paragraph 11 of the VAT Act).

The Company's position on the question No. 4

The Company is of the opinion that in the event that the Company transfers the invoices issued by it to entities from the P group using the methods presented in the description of the future event, it will comply with the requirements provided for in tax regulations.

As the Company indicated in point 1 of its position, the tax regulations do not regulate the issue of what activities should precede the receipt of the invoice by the taxpayer. Therefore, the Company, after issuing the invoices, may take any actions resulting in the receipt of invoices by their recipient. In the opinion of the Company, activities aimed at delivering an invoice to its recipient do not constitute an element of issuing an invoice. Such an interpretation of Art. 106 of the VAT Act results from a literal interpretation of this provision as well as from the wording of Art. 62 of the Fiscal Penal Code. The latter provision lists separately the act of not issuing an invoice in breach of the existing obligation to issue it, and the act of refusing to issue it. Article 106 (2) 1 and sec. 2 of the VAT Act regulates the issue of a VAT invoice, and not its issue / delivery to the recipient. The term "issue an invoice" has not been defined in the provisions of the VAT Act. The dictionary meaning of the term "issue" is "to draw up, write out a document, invoice" (PWN Polish Language Dictionary, PWN Scientific Publisher, Warsaw 1999). This means that issuing an invoice consists of drawing it up or writing it out, i.e. determining its content, i.e. taking into account all the legally required elements of the invoice in the form / template / invoice template. In the case of using a computer program, such determination of the content of the invoice takes place at the moment of entering all the required data into the invoice template and accepting the invoice by selecting the appropriate option in the computer program. It should be noted that the above action does not constitute an electronic invoice. Indeed, not all invoices that are initially stored electronically are electronic invoices within the meaning of the Regulation on electronic invoices. If entities do not meet the requirements set out in the Regulation on electronic invoices, they cannot issue or receive electronic invoices, and therefore the only acceptable form of invoice is the paper form (for which the term "conventional form" would be more appropriate). This is not prevented by the fact that initially the data is in electronic form and in this form is sent to the printer, where the invoice is printed. Despite this transitional electronic form, it is not disputed that the invoice is in paper form. The place where the invoice is printed should not change this assessment either, as the VAT regulations do not indicate the significance of this fact. Therefore, regardless of whether the invoice will be printed by the Company itself on its own printer, or it will be printed by the recipient of the invoice, either from a PDF file sent to him, or on the basis of an authorization directly from the Company's financial system, or by the Company using a printer located at the recipient's premises, the invoice will be issued by the Company in paper form. If such an invoice contains all the elements provided for by law, i.e. Art. 106 sec. 1 of the VAT Act and the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of November 28, 2008 on tax refunds to certain taxpayers, issuing invoices, their storage and the list of goods and services to which the VAT exemption does not apply (Journal of Laws No. No. 212, item 1337), as well as issued in a timely manner, the proceedings of the Company will be consistent with its obligations regarding issuing and issuing VAT invoices to the recipient.

Against the background of the presented future event, the local authority states as follows:

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), the 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:

  1. paper
  2. electronic

The rules for issuing and storing VAT invoices are governed by the provisions of the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of November 28, 2008 on tax refunds to certain taxpayers, issuing invoices, how to store them and the list of goods and services to which the VAT exemption does not apply ( Journal of Laws No. 211, item 1337), 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.

From the presented by P. P. Sp. z o. o. the description of the event, it follows that the Company is considering the possibility of introducing several new solutions for the issuing of invoices, functioning within entities belonging to the P group, consisting in the following:

  1. invoices issued in the SAP IT system by one entity from the P group to another entity belonging to this group would be simultaneously sent in the form of a PDF file to the e-mail (e-mail) and sent to the recipient at the time of issuance; the invoice sent as a PDF file would then be printed by its recipient and stored in paper form for the period required by law
  2. printing of the invoices issued by individual entities from the P group to the Company would be done on a printer located at the registered office of the Company (invoice recipients) - two variants are provided here:
    • The company would receive an authorization granted by other entities from the P group to print invoices issued for it directly from the IT financial systems of these entities, i.e. for the benefit of the Company of invoices; printing would be initiated by the Company after it has received information about the issuing of an invoice by its issuer)
    • the printer located at the Company's headquarters would be connected to the IT network in such a way that invoices for the benefit of the Company, being entities from the P group, would be able to print invoices directly on this printer (printing would be initiated by the invoice issuer without the participation of the Company, the role of the Company would be limited to collect printed invoices from the printer).

Bearing in mind the above, it should be stated that the Applicant, in all the cases described above, makes an electronic transfer of the document content written in an IT language - it does not matter whether the invoices are sent to the recipient in PDF form, or whether the recipient prints the invoices issued for him directly from IT systems of issuers of invoices or the invoice issuer can print invoices directly on the printer located at the recipient's premises (such invoices cannot be considered identical to invoices issued in paper form). Therefore, in order for such invoices to be considered issued in accordance with the law and constitute the basis for tax deduction, they must meet the requirements set out in the above-mentioned Regulation of the Minister of Finance of July 14, 2005 on electronic invoices.

Pursuant to § 2 para. 1 above of the Regulation, invoices issued in electronic form shall be 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 teletransmission techniques 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 by a secure electronic signature within the meaning of Art. 3 point 2 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, or by electronic data exchange (EDI) in accordance with the contract on the European model for the exchange of electronic data, if the concluded contract for 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.

In the opinion of the Director, the methods of delivering invoices to the Applicant described above, in the light of the provisions of the above-mentioned regulations, do not have legal effects. According to the above-mentioned regulations, e-invoices must be accepted by the recipient. Their authenticity is confirmed by the so-called with a secure electronic signature, verified by a certificate or electronic data exchange system (EDI) - generating the original VAT invoice (in PDF file format) and enabling the buyer to download it from the supplier's server or sending the original VAT invoice to the buyer via the IT system, in the light of § 4 from the regulation of the Minister of Finance, does not guarantee the unquestionable authenticity of the origin of the invoice from the entity that issued it and the integrity and inviolability of its content.In this situation, the invoice is not introduced into legal circulation, which has significant legal consequences, in particular with regard to the right to reduce the amount of tax due by the amount of input tax (pursuant to Article 86 (1) of the Act) at the recipient of such an invoice. Of course, it is possible to submit invoices in the form described by the Applicant, however, under the law, these invoices do not have any legal effects. In this case, we deal only with the delivery, to the recipient's information, of the content of the invoice and not the issue and delivery of the document referred to in Art. 106 sec. 1 of the VAT Act.

The legislator deliberately introduced restrictions on the operation of electronic invoices, which do not apply to transfers made by post, courier or in person - so if the provisions contain formal requirements, e.g. a qualified signature on an e-invoice, they should be met (only this approach allows to avoid a situation in which the content of the document coming from the seller is different from that which reaches the buyer).

To sum up, it should be stated that the Applicant will not have the right to reduce the amount of tax due by the amount of input tax resulting from the invoices received, in the manner described above, from exhibitors from the P group - the invoices in question will not be introduced into legal circulation (there is no effective delivery). Similarly, if the Applicant issues and sends invoices to entities belonging to the P group, using the methods presented in the application, it will not be in accordance with the requirements provided for in the tax regulations regarding issuing invoices.

The interpretation concerns the future event presented by the applicant and the legal status in force on the date of issuing the interpretation.