Edited by Davide Accorsi, Stefano Luigi Airaghi and Ludovica Copia
With the reply to ruling no. 447 of 13 October 2023, the Italian tax authorities provided some clarifications on the correction methods to be adopted in the event of unconscious duplication of output electronic invoices.
In particular, the applicant company, resident in Italy, issued electronic invoices towards a client resident in the Netherlands and to some of its permanent establishments during 2022 and 2023. In addition, instead of sending courtesy copies of the invoices, on express request of the client, the applicant company entered the data of those invoices on a portal used by the client for its accounting.
That portal, for a certain period, sent those invoices to the Sistema di Interscambio (i.e., SdI – the interchange system where e-invoices are sent to the Italian tax authorities) without the company’s knowledge, thus duplicating their submission.
The company asks how these duplications can be corrected.
First, the Italian tax authorities emphasise that, in case of invoicing duplications related to the same transactions, it is not necessary to proceed with the registration of the duplicates “now for the past” and modify the relevant periodic VAT balances and annual returns and pay the relevant penalties. The error committed by the applicant company, in fact, can be regularised by registering the duplicates in the period in which the regularisation takes place and, at the same time, their reversal by issuing credit notes pursuant to Article 26 of Presidential Decree No. 633/1972.
Moreover, the Italian tax authorities recall that the ruling reply no. 395 of 7 October 2019, has already clarified that the duplication error of electronic invoices «may fall within the figures “similar” to the causes of “nullity, annulment, revocation, termination, rescission”» and, therefore, fall within the cases provided for by Article 26, paragraph 2, of Presidential Decree 633/1972. Accordingly, although neither the 2019 reply nor the one under comment make this explicitly clear, it would seem possible to reduce the taxable amount and the VAT relating to the duplicated invoices within the deadline for filing the annual VAT return of the year (in this case 2023) in which the error was discovered.
The credit notes in question may be cumulative for each VAT identification code of each customer (Dutch client and its permanent establishments), indicating the details of each duplicated invoice whose total amount is to be reversed and, in the “causale” field, the wording “total reversal of invoices for incorrect sending through SdI”.
Notwithstanding the fact that both the ruling reply under analysis and the ruling reply no. 395/2019 relate to cases of duplication of electronic invoices, in the writer’s opinion, the same clarifications should also be applicable in the case of duplication of analogic invoices (generated, for example, due to malfunctioning of the accounting/IT systems).
 It is not completely clear from the published text whether the issue relates exclusively to cross-border transactions (but this seems to be the case); given the response of the Italian tax authorities, it seems reasonable to assume that it relates in any case to the duplication of real electronic invoices.
 Although SdI is normally able to intercept any duplicated invoices, in this case, SdI was not able to block the documents in question due to the different nomenclature of the invoices and their duplicates transmitted by the two different intermediaries.
 In this respect, it would be worth clarifying in which manner it would be possible to prove the moment of knowledge of the error.
 The ruling reply no. 395/2019 concerns a case of analogic invoices duplicated with electronic invoices.
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PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti
PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti