Can Invoice Date Suffice for Date of Delivery

For the deduction of input tax, it is important to mention the date of delivery / rendering of your services. By word of the law, you are to explicitly mention this detail. However, if you only add the invoice date and not a specific date of delivery will this really suffice? The Federal Fiscal Court answered this question and settled a dispute with a tax office on 01 March 2019 (re V R 18/17).

Can Invoice Date Suffice for Date of Delivery

Date of Delivery not mentioned in Invoice

In the case being heard, the plaintiff wanted to deduct VAT, also known as input tax, for the sale of cars. The invoice did not specify the tax number of the vendor nor the date of delivery. The tax office denied the VAT advance, aka as input tax. All lower courts decided in favor of the tax office.

Calendar Month is to be added

VAT law requires in §14 IV 1 no. 6 UStG that a deductible invoice for a service or delivery must mention the date of execution. Pursuant to § IV UStDV, the calendar month can suffice as time of delivery or rendering of services.

Invoice's Date of Issuance Suffices as Time of Delivery or Rendering Services

BFH interprets §31 IV UStDV very widely - to the benefit of the taxpayer. Based on this standard, the calendar month can suffice when based on all incidents. In the individual situation it can be assumed that the delivery was made or the service rendered in the month of the invoice's issuance. Bringing it back to this case, car vendors typically issue an invoice around the time the car is to be delivered. Therefore, the date of delivery is to be construed as performed inside the month of the invoice's issuance. The invoice in further consequence is eligible for deduction of input tax.

Distancing from Previous Ruling Case Law

The court reasoned that tax administration is not to be limited to testing the invoice itself, but also what the taxpayer provides on information. In the past, BFH has applied a very strict and formal opinion.

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