UK closer to simpler VAT invoicing

The UK is a step closer to measures designed to simplify VAT invoice requirements across the EU, paving the way for a wider use of electronic or 'e-' invoicing.

Adopted by the Council of the European Union, the Invoicing directive aims to ensure that e-invoices will be accepted by tax authorities in the same way as paper invoices.

The legal obstacles to the transmission and storage of e-invoices will also be removed under the directive, which must be reflected in UK VAT law no later than 2013.

Welcoming the council's move, e-invoicing experts at Deloitte said the decision was the first sep towards reducing the "technological burden" imposed by the current invoicing rules.

"All financial systems can already store invoice documents in a secure way, so why not acknowledge this new technology is also secure for tax audits?" the firm asked.

"In the UK and the Netherlands, for example, companies can already make arrangements with the tax authorities in order to ensure that they used all necessary procedures to ensure a correct tax return."

Alongside anti-fraud measures, the directive contains deadlines for invoice issuing, aimed at speeding the exchange of information on intra-EU supplies of goods and services.