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How to send invoices from Portugal to clients in other countries?
Thread poster: André Fachada

André Fachada  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jul 16, 2010

How does the process of invoicing works?

I am asking this question because although I do know how it traditionaly works, in Portugal virtual invoicing is ilegal. At least that was what I was told by almost all official finance offices.
I can simply create an invoice in pdf format (like I was told to do by other translators), but this is not legal, and on the one hand if I don´t declare what I earn to the IRS I am breaking the law, on the other hand if I declare what I earn to the IRS and if they ask to see the invoice, I will be breaking the law for issuing false invoices.

In Portugal we have "recibos verdes", can I scan a "recibo verde" and send it via email? Will this be legal (it isn't for the client because he needs to have the original in Portuguese law)? Will the client accept it?

I have also been told by other translators that these invoices are not really ment to be used for tax purposes so there is no problem in sending them in pdf format (they told me I can even write one myself in word).

I would really appreciate any help at all, especially from translators working in Portugal.

Best Regards


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:23
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Postal Mail Jul 16, 2010

The only option I can think of is to send the invoices via conventional postal mail.

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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Print when required Jul 16, 2010

Why not just send your clients invoices in PDF format and if the taxman asks any questions - just print off some copies and put them in a nice plastic folder.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:23
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Electronic invoicing in the EU Jul 16, 2010

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/e_i/news/article_8783_en.htm

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:23
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Electronic invoicing in Portugal Jul 16, 2010

http://www.umic.pt/images/stories/publicacoes/DL196%202007.pdf

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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:23
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Whose printer is more credible? Jul 16, 2010

If my invoice comes out of my printer as a PDF and is posted by snail mail
or
if I send the content via cable and the recipient's printer prints out the PDF

should logically be of no importance whatsoever!!

What constitutes the fiscal basis for tax authorities is the content of the invoice and the fact that the client/reipient pays(+ your bookkeeping of course).

This logic is accepted by 99% of our clients in Europe (some after being convinced that the above logic is logical )l.

Business as it has always been working (Sending an invoice and receiving payment for it)
cannot suddenly become "illegal".

Best wishes

MW

[Edited at 2010-07-16 15:24 GMT]


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CristinaPereira  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:23
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The way I do Jul 16, 2010

What I do and other colleagues do is to send an invoice by email (PDF, Excel, etc.)and then fill the "recibo verde" here (keeping it with you or sending it to your accountant). There's no use to send your "recibo verde" abroad because it has no value outside Portugal. This way you will be reporting your income in Portugal.

Hope this helps!

Cristina


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André Fachada  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jul 16, 2010

Thank you all for your help!!

Your replies were very helpful!

But I still have some doubts and I really think there is a "hole" in the Portuguese law.

Atil - That is a perfectly legal solution, but I can think of a great number of things that could go wrong - it would be a perfect solution if translators were paid before issuing an invoice!

John - That is probably what I will do!

Mats - The problem is that as I do not have a company, I am required to work with the "recibos verdes" I mencioned, and here is the "hole". These are invoices issued by the Portuguese government and cannot be duplicated. I have an original form that I need to fill and deliver to the client, and a duplicate that stays with me.
I completely agree with you and that is what I will do! But the client is supposed to have the original, and the Finance offices tell me that a pdf version of the original is not valid.

Teresa - Thank you for the link! It gives me some support but still how does the law allows us to send electronic invoices but at the same time requires that the client has the original? «---- The Hole
This is applicable to companies, but those who work solo have to use "recibos verdes", they cannot issue their own invoices.

Anyway, I am confortable enough to send pdfs. If the client asks me to send the original via conventional mail I will have to do so. If the client is happy with a pdf version I am also happy. When the tax man come I will show my copy of the "recibo verde" and I seriously doubt they will ask any foreign company to come to Portugal and show the original. But technically speaking, I am still breaking the law.

Once again, thank you for your help.

Sincerely
André Fachada


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Jul 16, 2010

John Rawlins wrote:
Why not just send your clients invoices in PDF format and if the taxman asks any questions - just print off some copies and put them in a nice plastic folder.

We send out invoices in PDF format by email to international customers, but always print invoices at the end of the month and put them in a folder.


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Wolf Kux  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:23
Member (2006)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
A hard way. Jul 16, 2010

We in Brasil know what portuguese bureaucracy is, because we inherited them by J6, son of Crazy Maria, and father of our P1 / your P4 !!!

Here is a suggestion (use it at your own risk): go to the IRS bureaucrats and ask them for a solution in, let's say one month. If they do not answer you, simple open a trial against IRS telling the Judge that you are loosing earnings because of such kafkian bureaucracy. I think that every Judge may understand your claim and will impose to IRS a better flow. Later, IRS will say "Thank you" to you.

HTH


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Carla Araújo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Portuguese forum Jul 16, 2010

André,

You will find the answer to that question in the Portuguese forum.
As a matter of fact, you can replace the "recibos verdes" with an invoicing software (not Word, Excel or pdf files).

http://www.proz.com/forum/portuguese/109573-passar_recibo_verde_antes_do_pagamento.html


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:23
Flemish to English
+ ...
Recibo verde : never heard of it. Jul 16, 2010

André Fachada wrote:

Anyway, I am confortable enough to send pdfs. If the client asks me to send the original via conventional mail I will have to do so. If the client is happy with a pdf version I am also happy. When the tax man come I will show my copy of the "recibo verde" and I seriously doubt they will ask any foreign company to come to Portugal and show the original. But technically speaking, I am still breaking the law.

Once again, thank you for your help.

Sincerely
André Fachada


I doubt that outside Portugal many tax-authorities or customers are aware of "recibos verdes".
Such forms simply don't exist and if you send a .pfd in due form, no customer outside Portugal is going to complain.
What you could do is fill the recibo verde for the Portuguese tax-man and send a scanned copy as .pfd to your customer abroad.
I wonder whether Portuguese agencies/customers ask recibos verdes if they pay foreigners?


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Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:23
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Oh God I know Jul 16, 2010

Wolf Kux wrote:

We in Brasil know what portuguese bureaucracy is, because we inherited them by J6, son of Crazy Maria, and father of our P1 / your P4 !!!

Here is a suggestion (use it at your own risk): go to the IRS bureaucrats and ask them for a solution in, let's say one month. If they do not answer you, simple open a trial against IRS telling the Judge that you are loosing earnings because of such kafkian bureaucracy. I think that every Judge may understand your claim and will impose to IRS a better flow. Later, IRS will say "Thank you" to you.

HTH


I spend so much time worrying with bureaucracy, tax and international transfers and their unbelivable rates. When will they realise that people want to pay their taxes, as long as they are fair and easy to do! In my opinion, they should let us invoice freely and then charge income tax like they do in most places. I recently had to register as a business, because freelance (autônomo) taxes are higher! How can they charge a freelancer more than they do a company?

We can't legally send Notas Fiscais abroad, because they have no CNPJ, then I don't know what to do. I can tell it's just as bad in Portugal.


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Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:23
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It would be nice Jul 16, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

John Rawlins wrote:
Why not just send your clients invoices in PDF format and if the taxman asks any questions - just print off some copies and put them in a nice plastic folder.

We send out invoices in PDF format by email to international customers, but always print invoices at the end of the month and put them in a folder.


PDF invoices are not considered valid in Brazil or Portugal by the sounds of it. You can't simply issue your own invoices.


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Ronald van der Linden  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 11:23
German to Dutch
+ ...
send original green receipt attached to the "invoice" to client Jul 17, 2010

My 2 pennies worth:

Why don't you simply send the original "green receipt" accompanied with a Word/Excel invoice lay-out to your client through normal post. And send the Word/Excel invoice digitally to your client stating something like "COPY, ORIGINAL INVOICE SENT THROUGH NORMAL POST" Then your client is happy with the invoice, will be in the possession of the green receipt, and you can be honest by saying to your accountants and IRS that the client has the original green receipt.

Good luck.


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