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HMRC internal manual

VAT Time of supply

Actual tax points: VAT invoices: what is meant by a VAT invoice?

A tax point can only be created by the issue of a proper VAT invoice. That is a document which fully complies with the requirements of regulation 14 of the VAT Regulations 1995.

The effect, in time of supply terms, of the issue of a document not conforming to the requirements of a VAT invoice was considered by the Tribunal in the case of S R Finch (VTD10948). The appellant was a builder who issued invoices for supplies made to an associated company. The VAT shown on the invoices was omitted from the returns covering the periods in which the invoices were issued. The Tribunal upheld the appeal against the resultant assessment on the basis that the invoices were not tax invoices (as they were then known) because they did not include all the details required under what was then regulation 13 of the VAT (General) Regulations 1985.

It follows from this decision that, before issuing an assessment involving a tax point created by the issue of an invoice, you must first ensure that it is a VAT invoice. If you are in any doubt about this or you require further guidance you should consult the manual covering records.

It should also be noted that an invoice issued for a zero-rated or exempt supply is not a VAT invoice. Therefore, with the exception of intra-EC supplies (see VATTOS9300), invoices issued for supplies that are not subject to a positive rate of VAT are disregarded for time of supply purposes. Similarly a VAT invoice can only be issued by a VAT registered person. This means that invoices do not count in determining the time of supply for somebody who is not registered for VAT (for example when calculating turnover for VAT registration purposes).