2 August, 2017

Invoices as the primary mean of proof of accounting and tax expenses

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A full invoice in which the purchaser is identified is the primary mean of proof in order to qualify a relevant expense as tax deductible.

One of the requirements set forth by the Spanish Corporate income tax rules in order to qualify a relevant expense as tax deductible is to have documentary evidence of it.  A full invoice in which the purchaser is identified is the primary mean of proof.

What about if my company does not have such full invoice but only keeps tickets?

The current invoicing regulations allow the issuance of simplified invoices (in substitution of the formerly existing “tickets”) in which it is not mandatory to identify the recipient of the service or product. It can be issued when the transaction consideration does not exceed 400.00 € or 3,000.00 €, both including VAT, in this latter case for certain qualifying transactions (including hotel and restaurant services as well as car parking, for example).

In these cases, the Spanish tax authorities hold the view that simplified invoices which do not include the VAT number of the recipient do not permit identifying who is such beneficiary of the acquired products and / or services and do not, therefore, justify a tax deductible expense for the holder of such invoices.

Hence, if your company only keeps simplified invoices, it is recommendable to ask the supplier to redeem them for a full invoice. By doing so, a tax deductible expense cannot be questioned for formal reasons, not only in the area of Corporate income tax but also for VAT purposes, providing the expense conceptually qualifies as tax deductible in the respective regulations of these taxes.

In any case, it would be desirable that the Spanish tax authorities applied reasonable criteria when evaluating the documentary evidence of the tax – deductible expenses in the area of Corporation tax, as it is provided in the Catalan Superior Court of Justice (Nov. 30, 2007, EDJ 300596) according to which:

“In restaurant, bar, parking meters, tolls, taxis … the taxpayer cannot be required to provide, with respect to each one of them, a full invoice, indicating the recipient, what is entirely unfeasible in most of the cases, neither to prove, also on a stand – alone and thoroughly basis, the direct relation with the activity. General considerations with respect to customs and traditions in these cases, in relation to reasonableness and proportionality, must determine its acceptance or disallowance.”

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information about Spanish Corporate Income Tax Rules or anything else that interests you.

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