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The Federal Tax Court has held that an entrepreneur who is unable to present the original of an invoice with respect to which he has claimed the input tax credit may nevertheless qualify for the credit provided he can prove that he was in possession of the original invoice at the time he deducted the input tax from his VAT liability in filing his (generally monthly) VAT pre-return (BFH DStR 1997, 1287 - 16 April 1997). All means of proof admissible in a court of law can be used. Photocopies and witness testimony are forms of admissible evidence. Whether they are sufficient or not will depend on the circumstances of the individual case.
Before rendering its decision, the Court had suspended the proceedings and interpolated the European Court of Justice, which ruled on 5 December 1996 (DStR 1996, 2013) that the 6th EEC VAT Directive permitted the Member States to make the input tax credit conditional on production of the original invoice and to allow other means of proof in case of loss of the original invoice.
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