The Law on Electronic Invoicing entered into force on 7 May 2021 (“Official Gazette of the RS“, no. 44/2021). It obliges public and business entities to use the system of electronic invoices for issuing, sending, receiving and storing electronic invoices. On July 9 2021, the government adopted a set of bylaws necessary to implement the law.
Start of application of the Law for public sector entities is as follows:
- Obligation to receive and keep records of electronic invoices as well as the obligation to issue electronic invoices to other public sector entity – 1 January 2022;
- Obligation to issue electronic invoices to a private sector entity – 1 July 2022;
- Obligation to electronically record the calculation of value added tax – 1 January 2022.
Start of application of the Law for private sector entities is as follows:
- Obligation to issue electronic invoices to a public sector entity – 1 January 2022;
- Obligation to receive and keep the records of electronic invoices issued by a public sector entity as well as electronic invoices issued by a private sector entity – 1 January 2022.
The administration of electronic invoicing can be entrusted to specially organized companies – Information intermediaries. The application for creating, exchanging, storing and administering electronic invoices will be provided by the Republic of Serbia, free of charge and available to all entities, which can independently undertake all activities related to electronic invoicing.
Moreover, Article 10 of the Law which stipulates that an electronic invoice is considered to be delivered at the moment of issuance in accordance with the Law. This means that proof of sending by registered mail will no longer be required, which significantly saves time and money.
For participants in legal transactions, especially interesting is the solution that stipulates that if the recipient of an electronic invoice who is a public sector entity does not accept or reject an electronic invoice issued by an electronic invoice issuer, directly or through an information intermediary, the electronic invoice is considered accepted after the expiration of the period of 15 days. This rule does not apply to the private sector. On the contrary, if the invoice is not accepted by the recipient, which is a private entity, upon repeated request, it is considered that it has been rejected.
A special question arises as to the impact and possibility of subsequent challenging in court proceedings at any time when there is an explicit acceptance of invoices issued in this way through the application or when there is the application of legal fiction of accepting invoices from public users. It will be particularly interesting to see whether courts will take the view if this is considered as material acceptance, that is, whether it constitutes recognition of a debt from an undisputed invoice.
Also, in the case when the invoice is considered accepted by public users, the question of justification of the current legal solution is posed, which imposes an obligation on creditors to address the Ministry of Finance before submitting a proposal for execution against users of budget funds. Therefore, if the Law on Electronic Invoicing stipulates the obligation of public sector entities to actively control all invoices issued to them and to challenge them within 15 days, imposing on businessmen and citizens the obligation to resubmit reminders and notifications in the classic form to the Ministry of Finance, acts as an inefficient solution that is contrary to the goals pursued by the Law on Electronic Invoicing.
Certainly, we advise all entities to prepare in time for the transition to the new invoicing regime, bearing in mind that the new regime will be applied from January 1, 2022.
The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.
By Andrej Jelenkovic, Senior Associate, Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners