Contents:
I. WHAT SHOULD AN INVOICE IN SWEDEN CONTAIN?
II. INVOICE PAYMENT DEADLINE IN SWEDEN
III. CHARACTERISTICS OF ELECTRONIC INVOICE IN SWEDEN
IV. VAT REGISTRATION IN SWEDEN
V. VAT OBLIGATIONS IN SWEDEN
VI. OPTIMIZATION OF INVOICE HANDLING IN DIFFERENT MARKETS
VII. ARCHIVING INVOICES IN SWEDEN
VIII. EU VAT ON DIGITAL PRODUCTS
IX. HOW TO RECORD A RETURN OF UNSOLD GOODS OR AN INCORRECTLY INVOICED PRICE IN SWEDEN?
X. QUESTIONING AN INVOICE
XI. RECOVERY OF DEBT

Invoice in Sweden

Creating an invoice for an individual may seem complex, but with the right information and tools, it is a fairly simple process. Understanding the basic requirements for private invoices is crucial as they govern the invoicing process not only for professional reasons, but also ensure that the invoice is legally valid and can be used in any legal context.

Each EU country has autonomy in making national decisions, and the European Commission provides detailed rules that should be followed by all EU member states.

EU rules give Member States autonomy in making national decisions. The European Commission makes available on its website the detailed rules that should be adopted by each Member State.

Invoices are supporting documents on which accounting is based. They should be arranged numerically in accordance with the order in which they were issued. At the time of delivery, an invoice must be issued and dated. Most programs allow you to set an invoice date different from the current one, which can be beneficial if you plan to send the invoice at a later date. However, it is recommended to send invoices as soon as possible in order to have funds in your company account and be able to make payments in a timely manner, e.g. to pay other invoices.

Swedish VAT invoices must be issued in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. However, in the case of intra-Community deliveries, the invoice must be issued no later than the 15th day of the month following the month of delivery. VAT invoices in Sweden must be kept for a period of seven years. Currently, Sweden accepts electronic invoices under certain conditions.

I. WHAT SHOULD AN INVOICE IN SWEDEN CONTAIN?

Issuing a VAT invoice requires the following information: The invoice should be carefully designed, which will not only facilitate the payment process, but also demonstrate professionalism. Professional and transparent arrangement can increase its seriousness and speed up the payment process. There are online tools and templates available that can help you create an invoice that looks just right.

Most online invoicing platforms in Sweden allow you to generate an invoice and simultaneously download a copy of it as a PDF file. Advanced software even allows you to send a VAT invoice to the client with one click.

Simplified invoicing

The simplified invoice should contain the following information: In the event of a sale for cash, a receipt is usually issued. However, the seller can also issue an invoice for cash transactions. In such a case, confirmation of the cash payment is placed directly on the invoice or on a special receipt relating to the invoice.

In Sweden, if the sales value is SEK 2,000 or less, the use of simplified invoices is allowed. However, the Swedish authorities require that invoices be submitted in Swedish and use the official currency of Sweden, the krone. If the invoice issuer has an account in euro, it is also possible to express the amount in this currency.

II. INVOICE PAYMENT DEADLINE IN SWEDEN

In response to the initiative of the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, business organizations and companies have agreed on a voluntary code of conduct. According to the code, small and medium-sized enterprises have the right to payment within 30 days.

Credit is a practice often used by companies in which credit is extended with a specified payment period, such as 30 days. The number of credit days is calculated from the date of invoice to the due date. When granting a loan, the entrepreneur does not have capital until the customer makes the payment.

Long loan terms can be used as a competitive tool, but this can be costly for start-ups as they use overdraft facilities, often generating interest costs. It is worth considering whether long loan periods are justified.

If you and the buyer have agreed a specific payment date (loan period) in the contract, the last day of this period is the payment date. The first day is the day the invoice is issued, and this date can be read directly from the invoice.

If there is no agreed payment date, the buyer is obliged to make the payment when you, as the seller, request it.

It is possible to grant consumers a longer loan period, even without a formal agreement. The number of days is calculated from the date of invoice issue to the agreed payment deadline.

One of the easiest ways to clearly state the due date is to state it clearly, for example by including something like "payable no later than May 31" or "payment must be received by June 10".

It is worth remembering that you do not always have the right to charge penalty interest from a specific payment date.

Before granting a loan to a new customer (issuing an invoice), it is recommended to check the customer's creditworthiness using a credit report. For repeat customers, it may be beneficial to conduct this assessment regularly. Information regarding your ability to pay can be obtained from your bank or credit reporting agencies.

If your credit report shows red flags, you may: Credit is only available if the supplier considers you to be creditworthy. For new entrepreneurs, it is advisable to be careful when granting loans.

III. CHARACTERISTICS OF ELECTRONIC INVOICE IN SWEDEN

Invoices are not limited to a specific format. Electronic invoices are acceptable provided the recipient's consent is obtained. There are special transmission methods for public entities, and for other recipients, any practical method can be used, without specific approval or reporting requirements. Additionally, for business-to-government (B2G) transactions, electronic invoicing is mandatory in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Electronic Invoices Act, Articles 4 and 5.

Advantages of sending e-invoices: Advantages of receiving e-invoices in the accounting system: It is worth remembering that invoices in PDF format are not considered e-invoices. It's important to inform your customers about your move to e-invoicing and make sure they are able to receive the e-invoices you send. An electronic signature is not required for eInvoices and the storage period is 7 years.

Obligation of electronic invoicing for central public administration bodies in Sweden

Since 2008, electronic invoicing has been mandatory for central public administration bodies. In 2019, this obligation was extended to other regional and municipal administration bodies. Suppliers for public administration are also obliged to send invoices in electronic form. In the case of B2B transactions, this is completely voluntary.

E-invoicing platform and E-invoicing Management Systems

Sweden encourages the use of Peppol for electronic procurement, enabling public institutions and suppliers to communicate with each other. Legacy eProcurement solutions based on EDIFACT (GS1 EANCOM) are still supported by central, regional and local authorities.

Approach to receiving and processing e-invoices

Solution providers operate an access point for receiving e-invoices from businesses on behalf of public sector organizations. For the central government, the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency manages framework agreements for the provision of shared infrastructure for central government organizations. The public sector uses a variety of platforms, and in Sweden the solutions are based on Single Face To Industry (SFTI) recommendations for message and infrastructure standards. SFTI recommends Peppol for the Swedish public sector and its suppliers.

Implementation of e-invoicing in contracting authorities at a lower than central level

From 1 April 2019, all central and sub-central contracting authorities, as well as public procurement suppliers (above and below the EU threshold, including direct procurement), must comply with the EN 16931 standard, using (CIUS) Peppol BIS Billing 3. Implementation e -invoicing at the sub-entity level is almost complete, but there are still older formats in use (Svefaktura version 1 and SFTI Fulltextfaktura).

The main benefits of implementing e-invoicing at the sub-central level include cost and operational savings, reduction of administrative burdens, optimization of payment processing times and contribution to automation processes.

In terms of digital reporting requirements, in 2022 the Swedish Tax Office confirmed the initiation of a project aimed at defining the future of VAT reporting in Sweden. The Office has started assessing various alternative solutions for electronic invoicing and digital reporting. So far, no specific solution or timeline has been revealed. Despite this, Sweden's tax agency plans to further consider options such as periodic transaction control (PTC) covering VAT and SAF-T records, and continuous transaction control (CTC), such as real-time invoice reporting.

In February 2023, Digg, together with the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket) and the Swedish Tax Office, submitted a formal application to the Swedish government to assess the conditions for introducing mandatory e-invoicing in B2B and G2B relationships (in addition to the existing B2G e-invoicing obligation) . The proposal focused on the importance of mandatory electronic invoicing, particularly in the context of the EU's value added tax (VAT) regulatory landscape in the digital era. Although there are no specific deadlines, according to the proposal, an assessment of the conditions for introducing mandatory e-invoicing in B2B and G2B should take place as soon as possible.

The EU proposes to introduce the obligation to use structured electronic invoices for cross-border intra-Community deliveries from 2028.

IV. VAT REGISTRATION IN SWEDEN

When should you register for VAT?

Before you start your business, your company must apply for VAT registration to the Swedish tax authorities. Delay in submitting an application for registration may result in financial penalties.

If your company plans to register for VAT in Sweden, it is necessary to contact the Swedish tax authorities. There is no need to contact the tax authorities in the country where you operate.

In particular, your company will be required to provide the following documents: If the documentation is complete, it usually takes one month to obtain a VAT number.

Is a tax representative necessary?

Non-European companies are not able to register for VAT in Sweden themselves. They must do this through a VAT representative, i.e. a local company that will represent you before the local tax authorities. It is responsible for meeting all your VAT obligations, even those you are not aware of. He may also require a deposit from you (e.g. a bank guarantee) before taking over the representation order.

European companies are not obliged to appoint a VAT representative. However, to facilitate relations with local tax authorities, they may appoint a representative (agent) who will complete tax formalities on their behalf. In such a case, it is not necessary to submit a bank guarantee. The Company remains solely responsible for settling its VAT liabilities.

EU VAT registration

The basic rule for selling to customers in Sweden or any other EU country is that you must register with an EU VAT number. The good news is that VAT registration is relatively easy.

A VAT number registers your company in the EU tax system as a legal business. This number allows you to monitor your company's activity in the system, track tax payments, obtain tax benefits and charge tax to customers.

If you run a business in Europe, we assume that you are already registered for VAT in your country. The next step is to register in the Single Service Point (OSS) system, which allows you to sell digital products in any other EU member state, including Sweden.

If your company operates outside Europe, you will need to register with OSS to obtain a VAT number and "set up shop" in the EU.

What is OSS?

OSS is an EU-wide tax system that allows you to consolidate all EU VAT payments into one tax return, even if your customers are spread across different countries. Each member state has its own OSS, available online. After registering in a specific OSS, this country becomes the base of tax operations in the EU.

If you run a business outside the EU, you can register with OSS in Sweden or any other EU member state.

How to register for VAT OSS in Sweden?

If you want Sweden to be your member country for VAT identification purposes, you can register with the Swedish tax office.

No tax representative is required to handle taxes in Sweden or other EU countries. This means you don't have to have it. Some foreign entrepreneurs who feel uncertain about tax matters may choose to hire a tax representative for peace of mind. Taxes can be a complex and confusing topic, especially in a foreign language.

However, as all EU VAT OSS platforms are available online, and many offer support in English, it is certainly possible to manage your foreign taxes yourself.

You basically charge VAT by adding it to the total of each sale. You officially collect EU VAT. Sometimes VAT settlement depends on the client. This depends on whether your client is a registered company and has a valid VAT number.

Are you registered for VAT OSS?

If so, you always charge and collect VAT on every sale in Sweden. The VAT rate for all domestic sales is 25%. If you are not registered - if you are a VAT payer in another EU country - you only charge taxes on B2C sales.

For a business customer who has provided a valid VAT number, it is not necessary to add and collect tax. In the case of cross-border B2B sales, the reverse charge mechanism is triggered and the customer settles VAT for you.

V. VAT OBLIGATIONS IN SWEDEN

Your company must keep detailed accounts to enable VAT to be applied and to be audited by the Swedish tax authorities.

What VAT rate should be included on the invoice?

There are three different VAT rates in Sweden: When should you submit a VAT return?

Your company must submit VAT returns regularly, in accordance with the following criteria: Member States set the length of the tax period at one, two or three months, but may not exceed one year. The deadline for submitting VAT returns depends on the regulations of the Member State, but cannot be longer than two months after the end of the tax period (Article 250 of the VAT Directive).

Member States may also require taxpayers to submit declarations containing all data from the previous year that are necessary to make any corrections. This procedure may take place electronically under certain conditions (Article 261 of the VAT Directive).

What is the deadline for paying Swedish VAT?

The company must pay the VAT due by the same deadline as submitting the VAT return. Delay in payment results in late payment interest being imposed by the Swedish tax authorities.

Taxpayers liable for tax must pay the VAT amount when submitting their VAT return. However, this deadline may be different and some Member States allow the payment to be spread (Article 206 of the VAT Directive).

When to submit an intra-EU declaration?

The company must submit an electronic intra-Community declaration no later than the 25th of each month.

In some cases, the Swedish tax authorities may decide that ESL declarations must be submitted quarterly, provided that the value of the intra-EU supply of goods does not exceed SEK 500,000 for the current calendar quarter or any of the previous four calendar quarters.

Summaries of information are prepared quarterly in accordance with procedures established by Member States, although they may also require this information to be submitted monthly. It is possible to submit summaries electronically, subject to the conditions laid down therein (Article 263 of the VAT Directive).

When should an Intrastat declaration be submitted?

If a company exceeds certain thresholds, it will be required to submit an Intrastat declaration. An Intrastat statement should normally be submitted by the 14th of the month following the reporting period. These thresholds in Sweden are: Reverse charge

As a supplier of goods or services, you are usually required to include VAT on your customer's invoice. These are general rules. However, there are situations, called "reverse charge" situations, where the customer is responsible for paying the tax. In Sweden, special reverse charge rules have been introduced for foreign companies: VAT refund in Sweden

There are several ways to obtain a Swedish VAT refund. The procedures for recovering foreign VAT will vary depending on whether your company is based in Europe and/or identified for VAT purposes in Sweden: VAT charged on purchases, imports or acquisitions of goods and services may be recovered by a foreign company, provided that they are related to taxable activities and have appropriate documentation.

From January 1, 2017, the possibility of deducting input VAT on expenses related to lunches, dinners, receptions and other refreshments has been limited to a maximum of SEK 300 per person per event.

VI. OPTIMIZATION OF INVOICE HANDLING IN DIFFERENT MARKETS

Companies operating on both markets sometimes wonder why processes do not work as they expected. Finnish companies are wondering why they still have to use PDF invoices, and Swedish companies are encountering difficulties in obtaining relevant data from their Finnish partners. Suppliers in both countries strive to accommodate each customer's preferences by sending invoices in their preferred style, format and channel.

Understanding the sources of these differences can alleviate some of the frustrations of operating in different markets. While there is no immediate solution to these problems, learning more about the differences and their sources can provide relief. For the buyer, using modern billing tools and solutions that enable even small suppliers to use e-invoices helps integrate all invoices into one workflow.

However, there are signs that invoicing practices are gradually becoming more uniform. In Sweden, the percentage of people issuing electronic invoices is increasing as regulations require public institutions to use electronic formats. The introduction of mandatory e-invoicing in the B2B and B2G sectors in Sweden is also being considered. The Peppol standard is also gaining popularity, although there are still differences between countries and industries.

After all, regional differences in invoicing processing result from different perspectives on automation. For Swedish companies, automation means minimizing the human role in the invoicing process, regardless of the format and invoicing channel, while in Finland, automation is often equated with electronic invoicing, and the debate concerns how to use the data, even if it is not perfectly correct, as in the case of their Swedish counterparts.

It is important to keep these different approaches in mind when a company operates in both markets and is looking for a solution to increase payables automation. First, you need to define what automation means in the area of invoice handling for a given company. Is the goal to increase the percentage of e-invoicing or to obtain more data from each invoice? What specific data do you need, and how can you integrate it with your systems?

VII. EU VAT ON DIGITAL PRODUCTS

A digital product is any item that is stored, delivered and used electronically. This includes goods or services that the Customer receives by email, by downloading from the Internet or by logging into a website.

The European Commission has set four criteria that help determine whether something qualifies as a digital product: You probably use digital products all day long without even realizing it. Here are some commonly found on the market: Note: You may also hear the term "digital services", "e-goods" or "e-services" when referring to digital goods. All these terms refer to the same issue.

If you're unsure whether what you're offering qualifies as a "digital product," check out our explanation of the term.

There are specific rules for digital products that must be strictly followed to remain tax compliant. Fortunately, EU digital taxation is based mainly on one key element: wherever you are, it matters where your customers are. The customer's location determines the amount of VAT charged.

So if you sell digital products to a customer in Sweden, you must add the appropriate VAT rate. Each EU member state has its own rate, which means you need to know the exact local VAT rates for each of the 28 countries. Moreover, you don't always have to charge VAT on every transaction.

VIII. ARCHIVING INVOICES IN SWEDEN

It is advisable to keep copies of all invoices, both electronic and physical, for archiving purposes and possible future needs.

The data contained in the received data file, representing an electronic invoice, can be transferred and transformed to another format on another machine-readable medium at the recipient's place. If this process is safe, i.e. no information is changed during transfer and conversion, the originally received data file does not require saving and archiving. However, it is worth remembering that the data codified on electronic invoices must be translated into an understandable language in order to later read the information contained on the invoice in a traditional, legible form. Electronic invoices received by the company should be kept in their original, machine-readable form at the time of receipt. It is possible to transfer the information contained in invoices to another machine-readable medium.

Electronic invoices issued by a company are usually archived in a machine-readable form consistent with the original form in which they were issued.

A Swedish company maintaining accounts abroad may archive electronic invoices abroad under certain conditions set out in the VAT Act (ML), the Accounting Act (BFL) and the General Guidelines and Advice of the Accounting Board (BFN). The company can store electronic invoices and make equipment and systems available in another EU country, provided that the location of storage and any changes are reported to the tax authorities.

In addition, the company must enable immediate electronic access to accounting information at the request of a tax or customs authority during the archiving period. In addition, the company should be able to provide the information contained in electronic invoices in Sweden in a traditional, readable form via immediate printing or microfilm/fiche.

If the service provider manages the archiving, the contract should include a clause stating that the service provider maintains the accounts and archives the documents in accordance with Swedish law. This is necessary because the Swedish company is responsible for the proper conduct of accounting and archiving, even if these obligations are performed by an external service provider from abroad.

In Sweden, there is no legal requirement to archive invoices in Swedish. There is also no legal obligation to use electronic signatures when archiving invoices.

Encryption of electronic invoices and other accounting information is allowed only if justified by security reasons, and it is possible to immediately present the information in plain text throughout the entire archiving period.

In most cases, the only document archived is the invoice. However, if delivery details are included in a separate notice (e.g. invoice specification), then this separate notice must also be archived.

IX. HOW TO RECORD A RETURN OF UNSOLD GOODS OR AN INCORRECTLY INVOICED PRICE IN SWEDEN?

How to record the return of unsold goods?

Unsold products often come from different orders, which means that they are associated with different invoices (one per order). Since it is not possible to refer them to a single invoice, the invoicing period should be included in the credit note covering the relevant invoices.

If unsold goods can be traced to a specific delivery/invoice, this can be marked in a credit note as standard.

How to account for an incorrectly invoiced price?

There are two ways to credit an incorrectly invoiced price or quantity:

X. QUESTIONING AN INVOICE

If the invoice does not meet your expectations or there is a payment dispute, you may need to dispute the document. There are several reasons why this may occur, for example, the invoice may contain errors, the service or product may not meet the specifications, or it may simply be a mistake by the supplier. How to deal with such a situation effectively and professionally? Formal questioning of an invoice in Sweden

If there are no results after trying to communicate with the supplier, it is time to formally dispute the invoice. Alternative dispute resolution methods: If the above methods do not produce results, it may be necessary to take the matter to court. This should be considered as a last resort as it can be costly and time-consuming.

XI. RECOVERY OF DEBT

Once the invoice has been sent, it is important to carefully track payments. In case of delays in payment, it is worth sending a reminder. Knowledge of procedures related to unpaid invoices and possible steps to secure payment is also crucial.

Before the case is referred to debt collection, the client receives a payment request. If the amount is not paid within two weeks, a note of "late payment" may be entered under the customer's name. Such a notification may affect the customer's ability to obtain a loan, telephone plan, insurance, etc. The "delay in payment" annotation is removed after receiving the payment.