Germany rules on VAT invoice case

Mon 9th Mar 2015

The German courts have recently ruled on the details required to make up compliant VAT invoice for an exempt intra-community supply.

The case concerned the supply of cars into Austria. The cars were supplied on the basis of being VAT zero rated as an intra-community supply between two VAT registered businesses. However, the principle invoice for the transaction only indicated a sales price without reference to the VAT liability. In addition to the ‘invoice’ a supporting document was supplied with provided details of the cars and that the transaction was an intra-community supply exempt from EU VAT.

The tax authorities passed the cast to the German tax court, BFH, to determine whether the second document substantiated part of the VAT invoice, and complied with § 14 (4) sent. 1 UStG of the German VAT code on minimum disclosures required for a compliant invoice with the right to deduct.

The court ruled that the second document did indeed part of the invoice (an invoice need not just be one document), and that the second document did provide for the zero-rating of the transaction.

EU VAT invoices

The basic requirements for valid EU VAT invoices is contained within the first EU VAT Directive on Invoices. This lists the basic information required for a VAT invoice in order to qualify for the right to deduct any input VAT suffered. The second EU VAT Invoice Directive covers the rules around electronic invoices. All member states are required to implement these rules.