Invoices must be prepared in compliance with the formal criteria imposed by law.

An invoice (to a creditor/supplier/services) that complies with the formal invoicing criteria for VAT is generally eligible for input tax. It is therefore recommended to always request a compliant invoice from service providers (suppliers).

As a rule, an invoice must contain the following elements:

  • Name and address of the supplier, and their VAT number. Since January 1, 2014, this will be a Unique Enterprise Identification Number (UID) with the addition of VAT;
  • Name and address of the recipient (for receipts over CHF 400, status 2012);
  • Delivery date or service supplier (if different from the invoice date);
  • Accurate description of the goods or service;
  • Price (consideration) of the delivery or service;
  • VAT rate (for example, “8.1% VAT in addition”) and VAT amount if not included in the price
  • Signature (see explanatory notes in next paragraph).

Optional electronic signature

For a company, it is essential to prove the authenticity and integrity of data that is transmitted and stored on paper or electronically. This applies, in particular, to documents which have an impact on input tax deduction or on tax collection or tax levy.

For electronic data, this proof can be established using the electronic signature of the data. This signature offers the best protection against unidentifiable changes. On the other hand, if the electronic signature is missing, then proof of the authenticity and integrity of the electronic invoice is not established and the invoice does not constitute indisputable evidence.

However, under the principle of free evaluation of evidence (in German), it is possible to provide the required proof through other supporting documents. These can be purchase orders, delivery notes, accounting entries, proof of payment, etc. The probative value of these documents must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. By keeping the books of account according to the principles of commercial law (art. 957a CO) and the rules defined in the Ordinance on the keeping and preservation of books of account (see related information), it is generally possible to demonstrate the relevant information for VAT purposes.

Therefore, if electronic invoices do not have an electronic signature, they are still eligible for input tax deduction if alternative evidence can be provided. The legal requirements for bookkeeping must be met. The facts and the thread that leads to them must be verifiable.

Companies that have an internal control system (ICS) can also use it as evidence. The ICS must therefore provide reliable traceability of business transactions between the electronic invoice and related services and should be designed as a whole to ensure authenticity of origin and integrity of content. In each case, it must be possible to judge whether the ICS meets these conditions within the framework of the free evaluation of evidence. Please note that, depending on their design and quality, not all ICS are suitable.


Last modification 18.01.2024

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