The Spanish Ministry of Finance has published a draft resolution that will – once adopted – establish the requirements for software and systems that support the billing processes of businesses and professionals. This law will have a significant impact on the current invoice issuance processes. It will require implementing new invoice content requirements, including a QR code, and the generation of billing records by January 2024.
The regulation is also intended to adapt the Spanish business sector, especially SMEs, micro-enterprises, and the self-employed, to the demands of digitization. For this, it is considered necessary to standardise and modernise the computer programs that support the accounting, billing, and management of businesses and entrepreneurs.
Scope of the regulation
The regulation establishes the requirements that any system must meet to guarantee the integrity, conservation, accessibility, legibility, traceability and inalterability of the billing records without interpolations, omissions or alterations.
The new rules established in the regulation will apply to:
- Taxpayers subject to corporate tax (IS), except for exempt or partially exempt entities.
- Taxpayers subject to income tax for physical persons (IRPF) who obtain income from economic activities.
- Taxpayers subject to income tax for non-residents (IRNR) with a permanent establishment in Spain.
- Entities under the income allocation system carrying out economic activities.
Companies that do not fall within the above categories do not need to comply, but those who do must ensure their computer systems are adapted to this regulation as of 1 January 2024.
New invoice content requirements: ID and QR codes
Invoices generated by the computer systems or electronic systems and programs that support the billing processes of businesses and professionals must include an alphanumeric identification code and a QR code, generated per the technical and functional specifications established by the Ministry of Finance.
Billing system requirements
The computer systems that support billing processes must have the capability to:
- Generate a billing record for each delivery of goods or provision of services, simultaneously or immediately before the issuance of the invoice.
- The computer system must be able to send all the billing records generated to the State Tax Administration Agency (AEAT) in a continuous, secure, correct, complete, automatic, consecutive, instantaneous, and reliable manner.
- The system must be provided with traceability, verifying the sequence of data creation. It will create an event log that collects all the system operations and incidents during its use.
- The records created may not be altered by the user or any internal or external means.
- The systems must add a fingerprint or ‘hash’ to the billing records, according to the specifications and the electronic signature.
To achieve these ends, all computer systems must certify that they ensure the commitment to comply with all the requirements established in this regulation through a “responsible statement”. The Ministry of Finance will establish the minimum content of this statement later in a new resolution.
Billing record content and its optional transmission
The billing records must comply with several content requirements laid down by the regulation.
The taxpayers using computer systems to comply with their invoicing obligations may voluntarily send all its billing records generated by the computer systems to the AEAT automatically by electronic means. The response of a formal acceptance message from the AEAT will automatically mean that these records have been incorporated into the taxpayer’s sales and income ledgers.
Tax administration audits
The AEAT may appear in person where the computer system is located or used and may require full and immediate access to the data record, obtaining, where appropriate, the username, password and any other security key that is necessary for full access.
The AEAT may request a copy of the billing records, which companies may provide in electronic format through physical support or by electronic means.
Application to the B2B e-invoicing mandate
The regulation doesn’t include any specific rule for the B2B e-invoice mandate draft decree currently being discussed in Congress and waiting for approval. However, if the mandate is approved, all the B2B e-invoices issued under this draft decree will have to comply with all the new rules established in this regulation.
While this new regulation does not seem to take Spain further down the continuous transaction control (CTC) route, the proposal has clear similarities with Portugal’s invoice requirements.
The draft resolution establishing these is currently open for public consultation until 11 March 2022. Once this resolution is approved, the Ministry of Finance will publish the technical and functional specifications needed to comply with the new requirements and the structure, content, detail, format, design and characteristics of the information that companies must include in the billing records.
The Ministry of Finance will also publish the specifications of the signature policy and the requirements that the fingerprint or ‘hash’ must meet. Once these details are published, it will be clearer whether Spain is going down the Portuguese route or carving out its own path.
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