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New GST Ruling provides relief for tax invoice requirements

When can a document, missing certain information, be treated as a 'tax invoice' by the recipient?

Prior to 1 July 2010, a recipient of a supply who received a document that did not contain all necessary information, or contained incorrect information (e.g. an incorrect ABN), had to rely on the Commissioner's discretion to treat it as a tax invoice in order to claim their Input Tax Credits.

However, under new S.29-70(1A), instead of seeking the Commissioner's discretion, the recipient of a supply may choose to treat a document that does not meet all of the tax invoice information requirements as a tax invoice if:
  • the document would be a tax invoice but for the omission of certain information; and
  • all of the missing information can be clearly ascertained from other documents that have been provided by the supplier.
Information is missing if the document does not contain the required information to be a tax invoice e.g. there is no information regarding the relevant particular or the document contains information about the particular but that information is incomplete or incorrect.

Further, there is no requirement that the other documents that the recipient is relying on were intended to be a tax invoice. Other documents can include the supplier's product list, business cards, an earlier tax invoice, an invoice, receipt, quote, order form, renewal notice, letterhead, email or other internet records if given by the supplier.

It should be noted that instead of choosing to treat a document missing certain information as a tax invoice, the recipient may prefer to request the supplier issue a document that meets the requirements for a tax invoice.

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