Change of the buyer on the invoice

According to the Polish VAT law, an invoice must contain information identifying both seller and buyer, which means names and surnames or company names with addresses along with NIP of both sides.

Mistakes on invoices are not a rare occurrence. There are tools to make corrections, should mistakes appear on original invoice, and these are corrective invoices (credit notes/debit notes) issued by sellers) and simple corrective notes – nota korygująca (issued by buyers). Problematic issue lies in a correct application of these tools.

Corrective note can be used in order to correct mistakes in information on original invoice, it cannot, however, be used to change misidentified buyer. Here we refer to situation, when  an invoice was issued with wrong buyer identified on it and given to correct buyer – the one who was part of the transaction. According to literal understanding of the regulations, corrective note could be used in such case, but in practice it has been denied by the authorities. According to the individual interpretation of the Director of KIS (National Revenue Information) from the day of 13th April 2022 (0113-KDIPT1-1.4012.136.2022.1.JK), corrective notes cannot be used to change one of the sides of transaction, it can only be used to correct mistakes in information concerning it.

When it comes to changing identity of buyer required is corrective invoice, which is seen as correct response to such issue. Corrective invoice is not universal solution, as it cannot be used in certain cases.

Change from private consumer to taxpayer and vice versa

If during the stage of documenting the sale seller was not informed that purchasing individual is doing it as a taxpayer (and provided NIP) then after receiving receipt in which he was defined as private consumer it is too late to change that. It is not possible to do so in any way, as right to choose role in which purchase is done is time sensitive and ends with issuance of receipt.

Reverse situation is much easier, however, as in situation where employer did not acknowledge the employee purchase in his name as valid, a corrective invoice can be used.

Breaking the rules in first case would result in being penalized in form of additional tax liability in amount equal to tax stated in invoice for the seller, while the buyer would find it difficult to deduct VAT from inappropriately corrected invoice.

Common, yet incorrect

It is common among sellers to ‘null’ (cancel) the invoice by issuing a credit note and setting the value of transaction to 0,00 PLN, purpose of it being simplification of the accounting duties. This procedure is very  often used by foreign taxpayers to cancel an invoice however, it is frowned upon by the authorities, and judged to be incorrect as it does not represent the actual situation.

But are there situations when ‘nulling’ is acceptable? Turns out there are – in situation when original invoice was not yet put into legal motion by issuing it to the buyer, it is correct to use ‘nulling’ along with annotation describing cause and circumstances and leaving it in tax registry without introducing them to records and declaring them in VAT declaration. Another situation in which it may be allowed is when invoice was received by an entity that took no part in the transaction. Caution is advised, as inappropriate ‘nulling’ can be met with charges and fees.

Correct solution

In summary, for most cases the correct response to incorrectly identified buyer is:

  • To issue a corrective invoice
  • In case the invoice was issued to an entity that was not involved in transaction described in invoice, ‘nulling’ procedure and issuing a correct invoice can be allowed

Corrective notes are appropriate when incorrect information is found on the invoice, however they cannot be used if the buyer identified on the invoice is a different entity and required is a complete change of the buyer on invoice.

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