3

I'm working with a U.S. dot-com that sells around the world. A lot of corporate customers, especially in Spain and Italy, insist that they need their VAT number listed on all receipts for payments they make to the U.S. company. Is this correct by law or regulation?

Is there any guidance that makes it clear whether they can just print the receipt and write their company's VAT number on it? (Customers I've asked say that they can't do that. So our current solution is to give them blank letterhead and tell them to put whatever they need for their books on it.)

3

The EU VAT directive has harmonized rules for invoices. Relevant for your question:

Article 226 requires, among others, that the invoice contains

the customer's VAT identification number, as referred to in Article 214, under which the customer received a supply of goods or services in respect of which he is liable for payment of VAT, or received a supply of goods as referred to in Article 138

If the customers receive invoices by electronic means they are supposed to archive the electronic invoice (and not a printout). They are not allowed to alter it in any way for archiving purposes by Article 246

The authenticity of the origin and the integrity of the content of the invoices stored, as well as their legibility, must be guaranteed throughout the storage period. In respect of the invoices referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 233(1), the details they contain may not be altered and must remain legible throughout the storage period.

(where Article 233(1) refers to electronically received invoices.)

The rules where put in place to combat VAT fraud – putting the VAT number of both parties on the invoice makes it a bit harder. If you were allowed to alter invoices before giving them to the authorities you would circumvent the entire purpose.

  • Beware Council Directive 2006/112/EC has been modified by Directive 2010/45/UE. Hopefully this has been taken in consideration in the source you link, but I don't know. – 27096 Aug 28 at 1:26
1

Law in Spain tells:

Your customers in Spain have to receive your VAT number in the invoices.

Article 6.1 d) Contenido de la factura (Invoice contents) del Reglamento por el que se regulan las obligaciones de facturación aprobado por Real Decreto 1619/2012, de 30 de noviembre (Executive rule for invoicing passed by bill 1619/2012):

Toda factura y sus copias contendrán los datos o requisitos que se citan a continuación, sin perjuicio de los que puedan resultar obligatorios a otros efectos y de la posibilidad de incluir cualesquiera otras menciones: [...] Número de Identificación Fiscal atribuido por la Administración tributaria española o, en su caso, por la de otro Estado miembro de la Unión Europea, con el que ha realizado la operación el obligado a expedir la factura. [...].

Invoices and copies will include these data or requirements, notwithstanding others with other purposes and the possibility of including whatever other mentions: [...] VAT number of the provider. [...]

Your customers in Spain have to receive their VAT number in the invoices in several cases, e.g. both you and them are in the EU (which would be true if you "are" in, say, Luxembourg, or the Netherlands, or Ireland (but funnily not if you "are" in several places of Spain such as Ceuta, Melilla or the Canary Islands), your lawyer can help you with this).

Article 6.1 d) Contenido de la factura (Invoice contents) del Reglamento por el que se regulan las obligaciones de facturación aprobado por Real Decreto 1619/2012, de 30 de noviembre (Executive rule for invoicing passed by bill 1619/2012):

[...] Asimismo, será obligatoria la consignación del Número de Identificación Fiscal del destinatario en los siguientes casos: 1.o [...] entrega de bienes destinados a otro Estado miembro [...] exenta [...]. 2.o [...] [inversión del sujeto pasivo] [...]. 3.o [...] operaciones que se entiendan realizadas en el territorio de aplicación del Impuesto y el empresario o profesional obligado a la expedición de la factura haya de considerarse establecido [...].

[...] Also, VAT number of the customer is mandatory when: 1.0 [...] goods shipments towards other member State of the [European] Union [...] exempt [...]. 2.o [...] [customer makes the invoice in behalf of provider] [...]. 3.o [...] operations performed in the land where [Spanish/European?] VAT can be demanded and provided that the entrepreneur or business owner or professional providing the goods or services is to be considered established [...].

I guess you might be in a case of 6.1 d) 3.o, surely your lawyers would know better than me.

Beware I have no special qualification or proven successful record of law translation.

BONUS: In case of restaurant tickets and those sort of (less formal?) receipts, "factura simplificada" in the Law in Spain, your customers in Spain still have the right to claim their VAT number to be there (by article 7.2 of Reglamento por el que se regulan las obligaciones de facturación aprobado por Real Decreto 1619/2012, de 30 de noviembre (Executive rule for invoicing passed by bill 1619/2012)). If you deny such, article 24 of Reglamento por el que se regulan las obligaciones de facturación aprobado por Real Decreto 1619/2012, de 30 de noviembre (Executive rule for invoicing passed by bill 1619/2012) gives your customer the right to call arbitration (but that's a story for other day).

Hope that helped.

DISCLAIMER: This is not your lawyer, it's a vague (yet informed) entry level reference in order to guide you. Here's no responsibility for any damages caused. If on doubt, always choose to go to your lawyer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.