In a 22 March 2013 decision, the Conseil d’Etat (French supreme tax court) rejected a company’s claim for a refund of input value added tax (VAT) because the date of the invoice—a required item—was not clearly indicated on the actual invoice received by the company.
While the company asserted that the date of the invoice was actually indicated in the invoice number, the court applied a strict interpretation of the invoice requirements and held that the date must be clearly stated.
Tax professionals with Fidal* have observed that while this decision appears to be the only one in which a court has taken such a strict stance concerning the invoice date requirement, the decision generally reflects the position of the French tax authorities in VAT reassessment proceedings—i.e. that invoices must contain the mandatory information and in the manner required.
Decrees under VAT invoicing rules
Earlier this year, France adopted measures to implement a VAT Directive on invoicing rules, effective 1 January 2013. In late April 2013, implementing decrees were released to provide guidance under the invoice requirements. In light of these decrees, companies need to examine the new invoice rules and verify that the invoices issued and received comply with the new rules.
Read TaxNewsFlash-Europe: France - Amendments to invoicing procedures, rules for issuing e-invoices
Penalties may be imposed for missing or incorrect information on invoices, ranging from €15 for each single inaccuracy on the invoice up to a ceiling of 25% of the total value of the invoice. Because invoice inaccuracies generally would be replicated on each invoice, this could result in substantial penalty assessments.
For more information, contact a tax professional with Fidal Internationale:
+33 1 55 68 14 47
+ 33 1 55 68 14 34
* Fidal Direction International is a French law firm that is independent from KPMG and its member firms.