Vietnam: Transition from Paper Invoices to E-invoices
Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) has introduced a draft circular to replace paper bills with electronic invoices from the start of 2018. The new draft will replace Decree No.51/2010/ND-CP and Decree No. 04/2014/ND-CP on invoices for the sale of goods and services to facilitate the implementation of electronic invoices (e-invoices). Invoices already printed will be allowed until 2018.
Last year, a number of firms introduced a program for e-invoices, leading to savings and increased efficiency. The number of companies using e-invoices has increased from 30 in 2011 to 331 in 2015 and 656 in 2016. The number of e-invoices issued also increased from 9,014 in 2011 to 277 million in 2016.
The following businesses will be required to use e-invoices, from 1 January 2018:
- Companies located in industrial zones, economic zones, export processing zones, high-tech zones;
- Companies and banks with a contributed charter capital of VND15 billion or more.
The following businesses will be required to use e-invoices with verification codes issued by the tax authorities from 1 January 2018:
- Newly established companies not falling into the above groups;
- Businesses purchasing invoices from the tax authorities, which are specifically requested by the tax authorities to use e-invoices with verification codes.
From 1 January 2019, 30 percent of all remaining business will be required to issue e-invoices and by 1 January 2020, 90 percent of businesses will be required to use e-invoices.
Enterprises can use freely available invoicing software launched by the General Taxation Department’s website or third-party software to issue e-invoices.
Advantages of e-invoices
Electronic invoicing will lead to a number of long-term benefits for enterprises. Companies will save a lot on the cost of issuing paper bills, which can be ten times more costly than e-invoices. E-invoices also increase efficiency by reducing the time in tax collection and making invoice payments. In addition, it also helps in curbing in invoice fraud currently prevalent amongst enterprises.
The transition from paper bills to e-invoices in the initial few months will be challenging for buyers and suppliers. Enterprises will take time to get familiar with the system and government agencies have to ensure that the information technology infrastructure is capable enough of handling multiple e-invoices requests at the same time.
Government agencies also have to ensure that they themselves are well versed with the regulations and systems, before the rollout.
Moving forward, the government should ensure a smooth transition to ease the burden on enterprises. Paper bills should be phased out slowly during the next year, to allow all enterprises to shift to e-invoices.
Until 2018, enterprises should be on the lookout for further amendments or changes to the decree before it is finally in effect from January of next year.
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