Are invoices without an electronic signature valid?
As discussed in our precedent article, sending invoices by email is valid in Spain. Recently, the Directorate General of Taxation (DGT) has moved a step further confirming the validity of this form of delivery even if the bill lacks an electronic signature.
So far, it has been highlighted that both the authenticity of origin and integrity of content of invoices must be guaranteed by one of the following mechanisms:
- Using an advance electronic signature based on a qualified digital certificate (the most common is the Fábrica National de Moneda y Timbre);
- Through an electronic data interchange system (EDI) or
- Through other means that the interested party has communicated to AEAT prior to its utilisation
Presently, these criteria have been relaxed so that the guarantees of the authenticity of electronic invoices do not require additional conditions or requirements with respect to those issued in paper and corresponds to issuing the bill as proof of authenticity.
Under the consultation of a lawyer and pondering whether sending invoices in PDF format through a corporate email address guarantees the authenticity of origin and integrity of its contents, the DGT addresses the matter as set out in Art 164.2 of LIVA: the issuance of invoices by an employer or professional, for its customer or third party, on behalf of the employer or professional in question, may be made by any means, on paper or electronically, provided that the recipient of the invoices consents.
Therefore, any bill in electronic format (e.g. PDF) that meets all the requirements of the regulation can be issued and received in such format through email. In such case, it will be considered an electronic invoice to the effect of the VAT law and Regulation establishing the invoicing obligations as regulated in Spain.
The goal is to allow management controls to create a reliable audit trail to establish the necessary connection between the bill and the delivery of goods or services the invoice documents. It should be possible to establish the various stages of operation: contracting (existence of a purchase order), completion (delivery of the good or service), issuance of the invoice and payment thereof.
This article is not considered as legal advice