The race towards Continuous Transaction Controls (CTC) in Europe is continuing at an increasing pace. It started with Spain, Portugal and Italy making it compulsory to use business-to-business (B2B) e-invoicing either in a clearance model or with real-time electronic VAT reporting. On the 17th of December 2020, the Polish Ministry of Finance announced that Poland will be the fourth country in the European Union to introduce B2B e-invoicing. A central governmental platform for e-invoicing is being made available
- to be used voluntarily from the end of 2021,
- with usage obligatory from 2023.
Poland stipulates B2B e-invoicing via a central platform from 2023
Poland, where B2G e-invoicing has been mandatory for suppliers since 2020, is now joining the club of the European CTC countries. Lessons learnt both from Italy legally requiring business to use their SdI exchange system for e-invoicing and the experience of other countries will help Poland to avoid certain pitfalls when introducing their own CTC platform, the centralised national system for e-invoices “Krajowego Systemu e-faktur (KSeF)”.
The main motivation is to combat tax fraud, and to collect the VAT owed by taxpayers more efficiently. In the midst of a global pandemic, collecting VAT owed has become particularly important. In this regard, Poland has already made significant progress in combating VAT fraud by employing SAF-T files (known in Poland as JPKs) and the fraud flagging system STIR to enable electronic VAT reporting, including for data from electronic cash registers, over the past years. Taxpayers are required to submit SAF-T reports to the Polish Tax Authority on a monthly basis. However, SAF-T reporting is not in real-time as continuous transaction controls are. Furthermore, SAF-T reporting does not automate sending and processing invoices as efficiently for businesses as electronic invoicing based on XML-e-invoices does.
Both the Polish Tax Authority and Polish businesses benefit most when XML e-invoices follow one national standard with a single centralised system automatically logging and checking all invoices.
Objectives and benefits
- The Polish Ministry of Finance says on their website that they want to be at the forefront of Europe as a pioneer of modern solutions for companies. If e-invoicing proves successful, they can replace the current SAF-T JPK reporting obligations. This perspective improves the conditions for taxpayers to do business through easier and faster access to documents while simultaneously providing more timely VAT information to the Polish tax administration.
- The Polish tax authorities particularly want to gain real-time information on VAT invoices in order to combat VAT carousel fraud more quickly and effectively. At a time when European countries were expecting there to be an annual VAT gap of more than 140 billion Euro for 2018, potentially significantly higher in 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19, it has become imperative to secure state funding by collecting this missing VAT – sooner rather than later. The expected increase in VAT revenue in Poland is expected to primarily come from combatting dishonest bookkeeping.
- The Polish Ministry of Finance wants to introduce a reliable e-invoicing system – first on a voluntary basis, later becoming mandatory – based on the experience of the other European forerunners Italy, Spain and Portugal. This approach will allow taxpayers a smooth start on a voluntary basis from the end of 2021 – in which they will benefit from a shortened VAT refund period of 40 days instead of 60 – before e-invoicing becomes mandatory.
The details of the e-invoicing system for B2B invoices in Poland have not yet been determined. It’s due to remain a hot topic in European e-invoicing for the next 2 years at least, as we follow Poland’s clear attempt to beat France in the CTC race.
Among the EU member states, Poland is one of the forerunners in implementing a governmental exchange system for mandatory B2B e-invoicing. This would allow VAT information to be monitored and checked more quickly and effectively. We are seeing a trend in compulsory B2B e-invoicing in Europe led by Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and France. Presumably, other EU countries will follow – just as e-invoicing has both started and spread throughout Latin America within the last ten years or so.
The challenge will be to consider and implement each country’s individual legal requirements
- without having to deal with several different local providers in the countries involved,
- ensuring you meet the various technical requirements in inbound and outbound invoicing, such as stipulated data formats and communication channels,
- and simultaneously maintaining an easy and reliable connection to the respective ERP systems.
The SEEBURGER BIS E-Invoicing Solution provides control of the processing of incoming and outgoing invoices as well as extensions for deep process integration within any ERP systems. This includes the seamless integration of SAP S/4HANA via the SAP API Business Hub. We are an established provider of cloud services with many years’ experience of understanding and meeting the various requirements in different countries in the EU and elsewhere with a single-source solution.
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