Over the past few months, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (the “Ministry”) and the Federal Tax Service (the “FTS”) have issued several clarifications on completing VAT invoices. Specifically, the Ministry has stated that when importing goods from the Customs Union to Russia, an applicant may put a line through column 10 (country of origin) and column 11 (customs declaration number) of the VAT invoice. At the same time, there is no basis for denying a VAT deduction if an applicant enters “Republic of Belarus”, “Republic of Kazakhstan”, or, in general, “Customs Union” in column 10 of the VAT invoice.

Additionally, an applicant may indicate multiple countries of origin, as well as multiple customs declaration numbers. Using this method may not be the basis for denying a VAT deduction. When a measurement unit is not stated, an applicant must put a line through the columns of the VAT invoice that indicate the code of the measurement unit.

The Ministry has also commented on the matter of submitting a VAT invoice in the event that a buyer rejects defective goods and then recycles them. In this situation, the seller must issue an adjusting VAT invoice, specifying the number or volume of supplied goods and their value before and after recycling.

By contrast, as per the FTS, when a buyer returns goods for which it has already accounted, the seller is not required to submit an adjusting VAT invoice. Instead, in this case, the buyer must submit a common VAT invoice on the returned goods.

The Ministry has confirmed that an agent may indicate information on the agency agreement in VAT invoices. Consequently, an agent acquiring goods (works or services) in its own name may indicate the number and the date of the agency agreement in the VAT invoice. However, agents are not entitled to issue collective VAT invoices.

Taxpayers should keep in mind the afore-stated comments on the part of the authorities if questions arise when (i) applying an adjusting VAT invoice; (ii) completing a VAT import invoice; and/or (iii) an agent issues a VAT invoice.

[Letter No. 03−07−13/01−43 of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, dated 25 July 2012; Letter No. 03−07−09/60 of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, dated 31 May 2012; Letter No. 03−07−09/69 of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, dated 19 July 2012; Letter No. 03-07-09/66 of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, dated 13 July 2012; Letter No. АS-4-3/11044@ of the Federal Tax Service of the Russian Federation, dated 5 July 2012; Letter No. 03−07−15/66 of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, dated 21 June 2012]