Can I issue a certificate of completion online? In practice the question is often raised whether an electronic certificate of completion can be issued as a pdf document part of the invoicing process following a sale, or if are there rules that state that certificates of completion can only be issued on paper as part of an invoice.

There is no exact law or other regulation governing the issue of certificates of completion. When it comes to the sale of goods very often a delivery notice is what is used to certify the completion, as well as to issue the invoice.

Take for example a company that sells construction materials that need to be delivered to its clients’ worksites. The client pays the aggregate price for the goods delivered at the end of every month. In order to be more environmentally conscious, seller prepares the delivery notices as pdf documents generated by an application the parties mutually decided upon in their agreement. The application used ensures that the documents generated (in this case the delivery notice) cannot be later altered. The document is signed on a tablet using the client’s account thus certifying that the delivery was completed.

In summary the completion of the delivery in question is certified by a valid certificate (delivery notice) issued using a closed system, in a manner that records all the essential details of the transaction while also providing possible access to be reviewed by third parties when necessary. The closed nature of the system also ensures that the form and content of the delivery notice remains uncompromised.

Is this and adequate procedure when tax regulations are concerned? Is it sufficient to have a certificate of completion signed by the company authenticated via its account within the application?

Section (1) 166 of Act C of 2000 on Accounting (Act on Accounting) sets out the definition of accounting documents that includes certificates of completion and in our case delivery notices. According to paragraph (1) accounting documents mean all instruments drafted including electronic documents.

Section (5) 167 of Act on Accounting also states that electronic documents may be used as accounting documents, provided they satisfy the requirements set out in the Act on Accounting.

Section (3) 6:7 of Act V of 2013 on the Civil Code states that any statement shall be construed to have been made in writing if executed in a form with facilities for retrieving the information contained in the legal statement unaltered, and for identifying the person making the legal statement and the time when it was made. In the above example the notice electronically signed within the application satisfies the requirements of set out in the Civil Code.

The interpretation above is also supported by the Tax Authority of Hungary who in their resolution also advise that if no piece of legislation sets out requirements for the specific contents the certificate it’s advisable to follow due-process and include all the necessary data that could allow the certificate to serve as evidence of the completed transaction in a potential tax audit procedure.

Of course, for the sale or delivery of special goods (excise goods or dangerous goods) the interpretation above may not be applicable.