The legislator has issued detailed rules regarding invoices. Many requirements have to be met to ensure that there is a “proper invoice” and the entrepreneur is entitled to the relevant input tax. In cases, where the necessary conditions are not met, the tax office will not allow input tax to be deducted. The tax authorities commented on this in a letter dated 9 December 2021.
In the Federal Finance Court’s (Bundesfinanzhof, BFH) ruling of 1 March 2018 it was finally decided that, in the absence of a separately indicated date of delivery or performance, this may also be derived from the invoice date. However, the tax authorities have now made it clear that input tax may not be continued to be deducted if information is missing on the invoice or is incorrect. This also includes invoices that do not contain the date or, if necessary, the period of delivery or performance. Only if all other documents relating to the case are available to the tax authorities could the input tax be deducted, such as on the basis of available delivery notes or valid contracts.
The VAT Application Decree (Umsatzsteuer-Anwendungserlass, UStAE) was amended accordingly. The date of delivery or performance can be derived from the invoice date if there is no doubt that the goods or services were supplied in the same month. However, it is difficult to refute such doubt in sectors where it is usual for the date of delivery or performance and the invoice date not to match. Furthermore, incorrect or imprecise information, which does not allow a conclusion to be drawn regarding the place of performance and a possible tax liability, does not meet the requirements for a proper invoice.
Note: In principle, invoices should contain all information required by law in order not to jeopardise the deduction of input tax.
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