Since the moment Federal law of RF dated 10.01.2002 №1-FZ «On electronic digital signature» became effective in Y2002 companies in Russia received the possibility to use electronic source documents in communication with their contractors (consignment notes, certificates, contracts, etc.). Such a possibility is states in article 9 of law «On accounting» (№129-FZ dated 21.11.1996): «Source documents may be generated and transferred on paper, as well as on machine media». Signed with e-signature under agreement of the parties documents are relevant in law and confirm the fact of business transaction, may be brought in court and serve as a basis for tax calculation and payment. Correct e-document is an original and shall not be duplicated in paper.
Correction of e-documents
E-document correction as paper documents correction may be done by two ways: you can replace the document or issue act of disagreement. You shall take into account that if the document is corrected via its replacement date of its signing with e-signature may differ from the date when business transaction was done. But there is no norms stating that such a date is important for source documents in the legislation in force, the belonging of the document to the period is defined by the date stated in document details.
Electronic source documents generation and interchange
At the moment legislation does not stipulate any special procession procedure for electronic source documents.
Electronic source document may now be generated in any accounting system. Despite e-invoice, source documents at the moment have no united e-formats, that is why companies may interchange with any files providing that all participants of document flow can receive and read such documents (for example, Diadoc enables interchanging with documents in Word, Excel, PDF and any other formats). The fact the document was signed with e-signature is enough to weight it with legal force. Upon signing of the document by two parties it equals to the original with blue stamp. E-signature not only weights the document with legal force, it ensures the contractor cannot correct the document.
Bringing of e-documents into tax inspection and court
Under article 93 of Tax Code of RF you can submit e-documents to tax authorities in e-form via Internet. Procedure of submission of documents on tax authority request via telecommunication channels is stipulated in Order of FNS of RF dated 17.02.2011 № ММВ-7-2/168@.
At present the technology of e-documents receipt is being developed in tax inspections and actually it is impossible to submit documents at request in e-form. As FNS announces receipt of documents may be possible by late summer 2012. Now submission of documents (electronic and paper) in IFNS and courts is done according to explanations of Minfin (see Letter of MF dated July, 7th 2011 № 03-03-06/1/409, Letter of MF dated August, 26th 2011. N 03-03-06/1/521): copies of paper documents or printed out e-documents shall be verified by authorized person and sent in paper form. If document is electronic, its paper copy shall contain notification that the original of the document is in e-form and signed with e-signature.
Code of arbitration procedure equates documents received via electron coupling signed with digital e-signature to written evidences (article 75 of Code of arbitration procedure of RF dated 24.07.2002 № 95-FZ). According to cl. 4 article 75 courts shall admit e-document providing compliance with requirements with their relevance in law.
Future of electronic source documents
The government is interested in changing over of all source documents in e-form. The main driver shall be the desire of FNS to make requested document acceptance and processing easier.
That is why FNS stated e-formats in which it will receive and process e-documents from tax payers. So the companies which want to send documents to tax inspection in e-form can do it generating documents in the format stated by FNS. In Y2013 law № 402-FZ «On accounting», becomes effective eliminating all stated by legislation source documents printed forms, so companies can use their own forms.
XML-files formats for TORG-12 and Works (services) acceptance certificates have been already developed (see Order of FNS dated 21.03.2012 № ММВ-7-6/172@). Within 2 years it is highly possible to see e-formats for other source documents, too.
Documents interchanged via Diadoc
Any document may be transferred into electronic form from legal point of view. Diadoc may technically transfer any documents in any formats. At the moment Diadoc Rules contain the list of interchanged e-documents and their formats. The list is constantly undated.