Invoices in small businesses in Germany

Accounting - for many young entrepreneurs remains the subject long a book with seven seals. Too many questions to do in this area, some of which should only be answered in the following.

When are bills submitted?

Calculations should be made in a timely manner in their own interest. For where no calculation, there is no payment. So if you do not want to jeopardize the in-house liquidity , must be careful , invoices promptly , best to put on conclusion of the contract.

Since 2004, a tightening on the accounting duties in law also has been added. The "Act to intensify the fight against undeclared employment and related tax evasion" was, and which affects mainly companies in the construction industry. All goods and services that are in connection with a plot, therefore, must be settled within six months. In addition, individuals should be advised as end users that they must keep the bill two years.

In general, since 2004, that bills in a timely manner, need to be created within six months if the invoice recipient is a company or a legal person. For private clients, this period shall only apply provided that the supplies and services related to a plot.

For billers, it turns out sometimes difficult to determine a difference between entrepreneurs and private person. For your own safety, therefore, an accounting shall be carried out as early as possible. In addition, therefore its liquidity can be improved. In addition, is that claims for goods and services expire within three years if they are not registered in that period. In this context, it is timely accounting important.

Invoices must be kept for

Also the bills once started must be kept comparatively long. The usual retention periods for business records be six or ten years and are in the Commercial Code or in the tax code regulated. For invoices a storage obligation is ten years. In this case, this must not necessarily be stored as paper -like original document. In question also get:

• Playback on video or data media,

• Pictorial playback in analog or digital form and

• Content playback in analog or digital form.

It is important that the documents can be presented in the event of an audit at any time to the auditor. He needs to get on first request access to the documents which are related to the taxation of the company. He may only view these documents, which is why it makes sense to put the documents on a separate computer available, so that no far-reaching insights are granted internal business.

However, individuals must keep the accounts of the company, at least when it comes to services and supplies which are in connection with a plot. The law provides here a retention period of two years , for works due to the longer warranty period of five years , the bills should also be kept at least five years . Can also longer retention periods apply?

The retention periods always start only at the end of the calendar year in which the account was created. Thus, an invoice can be destroyed by 15.04.2012 to 01.01.2023 at the earliest. However, it is also longer retention periods apply, in the following cases:

1 Period for assessment for taxes has not expired and documents are relevant for the taxation of importance.

2 External audit has been initiated.

3 Taxing was granted provisionally in accordance with § 165 Tax Code (AO).

4 Tax Criminal and administrative fines legal investigations are pending.

5 Appeal floats and is expected on the basis of an external audit.

6 Requests the taxpayer to be justified by the documentation concerned.

Forms of storage decisive

In general, it is sufficient that accounting records are kept so that the reproduction matches visually with the original. However, there are exceptions. Tax-relevant documentation available as a digital original, to be so placed that they can be analyzed by automated means. The storage on paper and microfilm, as an image in an optical archive or the content playback on any media therefore no longer sufficient.

Who kept the originals, these must both secured as well as keep organized. This means that in a particular case:

• place of storage must be like fire, water and moisture protected from influences.

• written on the paper used shall not fade - for documents on thermal paper (eg tank receipts) should be copies drawn on ordinary paper to eliminate fading of Scripture.

• Documents must be so arranged that a third party can perform an examination of the documents within a reasonable time without any problems.

Those who opt for the visual representation, the transfer of the original in pictorial form must guarantee to a disk. The storage media must also be secured and kept sorted. Playback can indeed be chosen to be small -scale than the original, but must view and edit notes, and other control statements be clearly visible.

If, however, the pure content storage and playback preferable that needs to ensure that the information is transferred completely and correctly. Furthermore, the information in the course of time can not be changed. In addition, the reproduction of the data during the retention period must always be possible.

In addition, the AO specifies that any tax-related records must be kept within Germany. An outsourcing abroad is not possible.

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