ECJ ruling on VAT invoice requirements

30 September 2016

A recent European Court of Justice ruling stated that VAT invoices only need to meet the substantive requirements of the VAT Directive in order for VAT to be recovered.

The case, Barlis 06 (C-516/14), concerned an invoice for legal services to a Portuguese hotel chain where the description of the services was vague and the dates of the ongoing legal consultancy were unclear.  Due to this the invoice was not compliant with the EU VAT directive which meant that the Portuguese tax authorities deemed that the VAT could not be claimed.

However as the hotelier was able to provide detailed back-up supplementary documentation which indicated that the Hotel chain was entitled to the VAT deduction on the services received.  Given this the court ruled that the VAT was claimable even though the VAT invoice had not met the EU VAT directive requirements.

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