Is it possible to correct an invoice issued to a receipt with an incorrect NIP number?
Since January 1, 2020, in the case of sales registered with a cash register, sellers have only been allowed to issue invoice to taxpayers only if the relevant receipts contain the buyer's tax identification number (NIP).
The regulation is intended to further tighten up the tax system. However, in connection with its application, practical interpretation problems arose soon, and the first interpretations unfavourable to taxpayers were issued even before its entry into force.
One of them (a private tax ruling issued on December 20, 2019, case no. 0111-KDIB3-2.4012.590.2019.3.SR) concerned a company engaged in retail sale of goods and services at petrol stations which recorded sales individuals not conducting business with a cash register. However it often occurred that, after the receipt of a fiscal receipt, a customer requested an invoice and provided his NIP.
In view of the new amendments, the company was not sure how to proceed from the next year on in a situation where the tax identification number provided by the taxpayer when issuing a receipt was incorrect. In such cases, it planned, after issuing an invoice with the NIP number indicated on the receipt, to issue a correcting invoice with the correct number or to accept correcting notes issued by customers. It is worth emphasizing that it was not about tax identification numbers belonging to other taxpayers, but about the situation in which the buyer made a mistake, by e.g. changing order of the digits.
However, the Head of the National Revenue Information Service disagreed with the approach. He pointed out that a correcting invoice can only be issued under strict conditions specified in the statute. One of them is when an error has been detected in the price, rate or amount of tax or in any other item in the invoice. Similarly, correcting notes can only be issued by a buyer of goods or services where the invoice or correcting invoice received include errors. However, one must not speak about an error when a purchaser has provided an incorrect tax identification number.
Furthermore, the authority pointed out that where a fiscal receipt carries an incorrect tax identification number (NIP), it will not be possible to identify the purchaser, because fiscal receipts do not contain any other data that would allow this. Therefore, the seller will not be able to issue an invoice containing a tax identification number (NIP) to such a receipt.
The above interpretation of the regulations is contrary to the official construction presented by the Ministry of Finance, which indicated, in an announcement of January 3, 2020, that fiscal receipts of up to PLN 450 incl. tax (i.e. approx. EUR 100) with the buyer’s tax identification number constitutes a simplified invoice. Therefore, if it constitutes an invoice itself and it is not necessary to issue on its basis any separate documents, the regulations concerning correcting invoices apply directly to it. Such regulations allow for the correction of an incorrect tax identification number in the event of an obvious mistake (for example: incorrect digit sequence or a mistake in one digit).
However, this does not remove all doubts. The issue of which mistakes can be recognized as obvious will certainly become the subject of disputes between taxpayers and tax authorities.
Wojciech Jasiński, Tax Consultant, ATA Tax Sp. z o.o.
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