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    Electronic invoice: how it works with the online shop

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    Aina Prat Blasi
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    Starting from January 2022, according to the provisions of the 2018 Budget Law, it is mandatory to issue the electronic invoice for the sale of goods and services, Regulation that also affects transactions that take place online.


    It was born mainly as a method to combat tax evasion, and to simplify the administrative system to obtain substantial savings and reduction in paper consumption.

    La electronic invoice technology however, it has brought about notable changes, especially in the way of issuing, receiving and above all keeping invoices. The legislation also covers goods and services that are sold online and therefore directly involve all owners of an online shop.



    What is the electronic invoice and for whom is it mandatory

    The substantial difference with the traditional invoice is in the total elimination of the card, given that the electronic invoice it is written from a computer, tablet or smartphone using a software system.


    La electronic invoice it is issued thanks to a digital system that allows all invoices produced via XML files to be issued, transmitted and stored.

    According to what is established by the Law, each electronic invoice must be kept for 10 years, both by the issuer and by the recipient, while its authenticity is certified by the presence of the electronic signature of the person issuing the electronic invoice.

    The issuance of an electronic invoice is mandatory for all VAT taxable persons who carry out sales of goods and services through their own business, the subjects must be resident and established in the Spanish territory.


    That is, both the holders of a VAT number who perform services between two business-to-business operators, and both in the case in which the service is carried out by a VAT operator to the final consumer.



    While all subjects, companies and workers who fall under the benefit scheme remain exempt, flat rate scheme or small agricultural producers.

    However, even excluded subjects can equally submit a voluntary request to adapt to the issue of the electronic invoice.


    Electronic invoicing can also be applied to all subjects who carry out their business online, and in this circumstance we refer to both direct and indirect e-commerce.

    direct and indirect e-commerce: electronic invoicing

    By direct e-commerce we mean the exchange of goods and services online, or in the case in which all the phases from the order process, but also the purchase and payment take place online, especially for the sale of digital goods such as e-books , insurance or online games.

    In this circumstance, according to current legislation, intangible goods sold online are subject to the issuance of the electronic invoice only if requested by the customer.

    While in the case of indirect e-commerce where the exchange of goods and services from the order, purchase and payment phase takes place online, while the delivery of the good or service takes place in the traditional way or through physical delivery, the circumstances of issuing electronic invoices vary from depending on the buyer.

    In this circumstance, a distinction must be made between the type of customer to whom a good or service is sold. The legislation provides that the issue takes place only if requested by the customer, but if the buyer is an entrepreneur, an electronic invoice must be requested and issued.


    And for this reason it is essential that on the website of the online store there is a dedicated area where the customer by entering data for billing purposes, can subsequently and freely download the invoice.


    To fill out an electronic invoice it is necessary to have the free software of the Revenue Agency, FatturAE, which allows you to fill in XML format, or through paid software, such as FatturAE in the Cloud.

    The Recipient Code is a field that must be filled in accurately, as it represents the electronic address that the SDL uses to collect who will have to deliver the invoice.

    And in the case of a public administration, a 6-character code must be used, private consumers must enter their tax code, while freelancers or companies must enter or the certified email address or the SDL code.


    The electronic invoice is sent via the Exchange System at the Revenue Agency which will check all the data entered in the transaction. First of all, both the supplier's VAT number and the data entered by the customer will be verified, as well as verifying the consistency of the values, rate and VAT.

    After the check, by means of a delivery receipt, a communication will be sent to the person who sent the invoice.

    The utmost attention must be paid as if this interchange system is not used, the invoice will not be issued, with consequent penalties for the supplier, in addition to the impossibility of deduct the VAT charged to the customer.

    All electronic invoices can be received in different ways, or via PEC using a certified mail service, or via a hub with a recipient code communicated by the management system, and in this circumstance the subject receives the invoice via a hub connected to the management system, and finally through the "invoices and payments" area of ​​the Revenue Agency.


    Further Reading:

    • Smartphone offers: buy online
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    • How to create a digital signature
    • Did you receive this email from the Revenue Agency? Don't open it, it's a scam
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