Invoicing obligations for sales to non-resident individuals

More and more companies are launching online sales of their products. At the same time, more and more individuals are using this channel for their purchases. Our previous publications already stated that the sale to individuals on the Internet may have a specific treatment with regard to VAT topics, but in addition to this, the obligations to issue an invoice may vary depending on the residence of the individual buyer. So we may have to adapt our e-commerce software. Being a company means that I do have an obligation to issue an invoice in the online sale to individuals?


Obligation to issue an invoice in the online sale to individuals


Article 2 of the invoicing regulations lists the cases in which an invoice must be issued. In addition to pointing out that the recipient may require the issuance of the invoice, subsequently the obligation for the company to issue it, effectively exists. Even when it is not required, it will be mandatory with regard to online sales to individuals for:

  1. Sales to private individuals outside the European Union (exports).

  2. Sales to EU countries if they are sales with Spanish VAT (not under the distance selling regime) and the requirements to issue a simplified invoice (old tickets) that can replace a full invoice are not met.

In fact, if the sale is made to a private individual in an EU country using the distance selling system, there rather would be no obligation under the invoicing regulations, unless the recipient requires it. However, the domestic legislation of the country in question will probably require issuance of an invoice (Spain does this for foreigners operating under this system, standardized at European level).


Subsequently there will also be an obligation to issue an invoice here. Attention! In this case it would be under the conditions of the corresponding country (in its language, its currency, with its formal requirements, with other legal deadlines for the obligation to keep them...) which could cause management and computer adjustment costs.


When the obligatory issuance of invoices is omitted severe sanctions may be applied


It is important to bear in mind that serious tax infringements can be the case, even fines under the General Tax Law may be the consequence and severe sanctions may be applied, depending on the invoicing volume, when the obligatory issuance of invoices is omitted.

We therefore suggest to consider these guidelines when starting our challenge of online sales, or for those undertakings already initiated.


Contact our International Department to clarify anything about this. We will be glad to help you.





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