CHAPTER 4Accounting

Section 1Definition

Article 241

For the purposes of this Chapter, ‘storage of an invoice by electronic means’ shall mean storage of data using electronic equipment for processing (including digital compression) and storage, and employing wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic means.

Section 2General obligations

Article 242

Every taxable person shall keep accounts in sufficient detail for VAT to be applied and its application checked by the tax authorities.

Article 243

1.Every taxable person shall keep a register of the goods dispatched or transported, by that person or on his behalf, to a destination outside the territory of the Member State of departure but within the Community for the purposes of transactions consisting in work on those goods or their temporary use as referred to in points (f), (g) and (h) of Article 17(2).

2.Every taxable person shall keep accounts in sufficient detail to enable the identification of goods dispatched to him from another Member State, by or on behalf of a taxable person identified for VAT purposes in that other Member State, and used for services consisting in valuations of those goods or work on those goods as referred to in point (c) of Article 52.

Section 3Specific obligations relating to the storage of all invoices

Article 244

Every taxable person shall ensure that copies of the invoices issued by himself, or by his customer or, in his name and on his behalf, by a third party, and all the invoices which he has received, are stored.

Article 245

1.For the purposes of this Directive, the taxable person may decide the place of storage of all invoices provided that he makes the invoices or information stored in accordance with Article 244 available to the competent authorities without undue delay whenever they so request.

2.Member States may require taxable persons established in their territory to notify them of the place of storage, if it is outside their territory.

Member States may also require taxable persons established in their territory to store within that territory invoices issued by themselves or by their customers or, in their name and on their behalf, by a third party, as well as all the invoices that they have received, when the storage is not by electronic means guaranteeing full on-line access to the data concerned.

Article 246

The authenticity of the origin and the integrity of the content of the invoices stored, as well as their legibility, must be guaranteed throughout the storage period.

In respect of the invoices referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 233(1), the details they contain may not be altered and must remain legible throughout the storage period.

Article 247

1.Each Member State shall determine the period throughout which taxable persons must ensure the storage of invoices relating to the supply of goods or services in its territory and invoices received by taxable persons established in its territory.

2.In order to ensure that the conditions laid down in Article 246 are met, the Member State referred to in paragraph 1 may require that invoices be stored in the original form in which they were sent or made available, whether paper or electronic. Additionally, in the case of invoices stored by electronic means, the Member State may require that the data guaranteeing the authenticity of the origin of the invoices and the integrity of their content, as provided for in the first paragraph of Article 246, also be stored.

3.The Member State referred to in paragraph 1 may lay down specific conditions prohibiting or restricting the storage of invoices in a country with which no legal instrument exists relating to mutual assistance similar in scope to that provided for in Directive 76/308/EEC and Regulation (EC) No 1798/2003 or to the right referred to in Article 249 to access by electronic means, to download and to use.

Article 248

Member States may, subject to conditions which they lay down, require the storage of invoices received by non-taxable persons.

Section 4Right of access to invoices stored by electronic means in another Member State

Article 249

Where a taxable person stores invoices which he issues or receives by electronic means guaranteeing on-line access to the data and where the place of storage is in a Member State other than that in which he is established, the competent authorities in the Member State in which he is established shall, for the purposes of this Directive, have the right to access those invoices by electronic means, to download and to use them, within the limits set by the rules of the Member State in which the taxable person is established and in so far as those authorities require for control purposes.