In February last year, the Portuguese government published the Law Decree 28/2019 rolling out changes affecting e-invoices. The goal of the Law Decree is to simplify and consolidate pieces of law that are scattered around the Portuguese legal framework. However, the effectiveness of many of those rules is still dependent on further regulation, such as the definition of legal and technical specifications guiding the creation of a QR code and unique identification number (UUID) that should be used on e-invoices.
The deadline set hasn’t been changed by the Portuguese tax authorities in respect of the QR code and UUID, and officially remains from 1 January 2020. However, the lack of more detailed information regarding the two requirements has caused doubts that taxpayers will be able to comply with the rules before additional details have been published by the tax authorities.
According to the preamble of the Law Decree, the application of a QR code and the use of UUID on invoices are meant to simplify the communication of invoice data to the tax authorities by natural persons during the calculation of expenses deductible from income tax. The lack of specifications of the two requirements also creates room for questions as to whether all e-invoices should comply with such requirements or only invoices issued in B2C transactions. Since in Portugal there are few differences between B2B and B2C invoices, the rules will likely apply without distinction.
What can we expect?
The Law Decree does provide clues on what to expect from future regulations around the QR code and the UUID. It sets forth that taxpayers should communicate the serial number used during the issuance of e-invoices before starting using such series. It also states that for each document series communicated to the tax authority, a code that “integrates” the UUID will be created by the tax authority. Consequently, the serial number and the UUID may be somehow associated.
When it comes to the QR code, its content will likely mirror the invoice data along with the UUID. An amendment to the income tax legislation suggests that individuals can use either the QR code or the UUID to communicate invoice data to the tax authorities when such documents are used for tax deductions.
During the last couple of months, measures taken by the Portuguese tax authorities have focused on the fight against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which might have delayed e-invoicing related actions. Nevertheless, whilst in early July the Portuguese Secretary of Fiscal Affairs published a ministerial order postponing some of the obligations stemming from the Law Decree 28/2019, he remained silent about enforcing the QR code and the UUID obligations. This might be an indicator that the Portuguese government is back on track to effectively implement the measures published last year, and that the much-needed guidance will soon be published.