Transmission of invoices by fax: Suppliers
The transmission of a VAT invoice by fax is sufficient to comply with the supplier’s obligation to provide an invoice under VAT Regulations 1995, regulation 13(1).
You should recommend to suppliers who routinely issue invoices by fax that thermal paper faxes can fade over time and that they should warn their customers of this. This could be done by an endorsement on the invoice itself or a separate written notification. Customers using thermal fax machines should be advised to make contingency plans against the loss of the invoices due to this fading, so that they can comply with the retention of records requirements in the VAT Act 1994, schedule 11 paragraph 6 (see section 3 above for further details on retention of records).
If the faxed invoice is simply an advance copy of an original which will be issued in the normal way, the fax copy ought to be endorsed with the words “Advance copy” or similar, to reduce the risk of double claiming of input tax.