VAT & e-invoicing – Switzerland back on track - Tax and Legal blog


Switzerland has strict e-invoicing rules. However, thanks to the principle of free consideration of evidence of art. 81 (3) of the Swiss VAT Law, the strict e-invoicing rules which require that all VAT relevant e-invoices are digitally signed by one of the four Swiss admitted digital signature providers can be met with other methods of comparable quality.

Although the strict rules in the e-invoicing legislation remain a safe harbour rule, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration ("SFTA") has moved closer to the general EU rules recently and has approved different ways of accepting e-invoices.

As with hard copy invoices, the SFTA requires that the integrity and authenticity of the e-invoices are assured. Whenever the safe harbour rule for e-invoices with compliant advanced digital signature is not followed, tax payers can prove integrity and authenticity of e-invoices via other documents of the procure-to-pay process, such as underlying contracts, order sheets, bill of delivery, booking records, payments etc. and companies should establish an internal control system that allows a constant and reliable audit trail between procurement process, e-invoice and payment.

The internal control system should prove authenticity and integrity of e-invoice data on a permanent basis. Once the internal control system on procure-to-pay shall replace safe harbour conditions as a standard, businesses are best recommended to thoroughly establish a new procure-to-pay internal control process which is regularly audited.

In order to establish a sophisticated internal control system that provides a similar quality as the safe harbour rules, businesses can seek discussion with SFTA and work towards a review and confirmation of their procure-to-pay internal control process.

In conclusion, it is good to know that the SFTA arrived in the modern age of e-business and offers alternatives to the often impractical strict digital signing on e-invoices.



Benno Suter - Partner, Indirect Tax

Benno is the Lead Partner for our indirect tax practice in Switzerland covering all industries. He has about 20 years’ experience as corporate and indirect tax advisor and many years in-house experience as a tax director of a leading Swiss multinational SMI company. He is a member of the prestigious Swiss VAT competency group of the Swiss Institute for Certified Accountants and Tax Consultants.



Tanja Blättler - Senior Manager, Indirect Tax

Tanja is a Senior Manager and VAT expert within Deloitte in Switzerland. She has 12 years of experience in VAT consulting and compliance management across all industries, with a focus on the real estate sector. She is a certified German tax expert and holds a Master in Swiss indirect taxes from the Swiss Advanced Technical College in Zurich.



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