Invoice address – can I use a P O Box?

Les Howard
VAT Consultant
vatadvice.org
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The European Court has exercised itself over this question, in relation to two German motor dealers. The second ran his business solely online, meeting sellers and purchasers in the street, or in public places, such as railways station forecourts. The first simply used an ‘accommodation address’ on his invoices.

The German VAT authorities, supported by the Austrians, argued that the address should be where the taxpayer’s business actually took place. The AG disagreed. The VAT authorities held full details of the taxpayers, and could verify them if they wished. There was no necessity for invoices to provide the same address as that provided to the authorities.

The AG also commented that taxpayers were not expected to make in-depth checks of the accuracy or correctness of all supplier invoices.

As long as the taxpayer can be contacted at the address shown, it is valid.

[We are awaiting the full Court decision in this one, but I am expecting it to follow the AG’s Opinion. The ECJ has been pretty relaxed on invoicing requirements in recent decisions.]

The AG’s Opinion is here: http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf;jsessionid=9ea7d0f130d56c73397de9bc49dba9eff73a5380ac19.e34KaxiLc3eQc40LaxqMbN4PaN4Se0?text=&docid=192367&pageIndex=0&doclang=en&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=700291

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