Firms wary of 2018 e-invoicing

Rushing to replace paper bills with e-invoices is expected to pose a challenge to many businesses.

The finance ministry wants to replace paper bills by e-invoices starting next year. - Photo hoadondientu.info.vn

The Ministry of Finance is drafting a circular on invoices, noting that paper bills will be replaced by e-invoices from the start of 2018. However, businesses have complained that they are not prepared for the change.

Over the past year, several firms have run a pilot program for using e-invoices, helping them to save costs and add convenience to their corporate management.

A representative of Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank said that under the draft, each e-invoice must contain a verifying code provided by the tax authority at a fee of VND300, estimating that the verifying fees might cost the bank VND300 million per month. “Policies on e-invoicing must be given careful consideration because e-invoicing should aim to cut costs for businesses, not push up costs.”

Several foreign firms have also expressed concern.

According to Ajinomoto Viet Nam, when goods are transported by road, market watchdogs and government polices might require invoices for checking. The company questioned whether submitting an e-invoice would be accepted nationwide.

Another problem identified was the inadequate technology and information infrastructure, which would barely meet the demand for handling the huge volume of invoices.

It is estimated that there are now some 4 billion invoices in circulation, in both paper and electronic form.

Deputy President of Dong Nai Import-Export Association Nguyen Ngoc Tuan said that applying the e-invoice system from the start of 2018 would be too stressful.

Tuan said both firms and tax watchdogs need a couple of years for adequate preparation, adding that paper and e-invoices should be accepted simultaneously during the roll-out period.

According to Nguyen Thi Thu Ha from the General Department of Taxation’s Tax Policies Department, the tax watchdog will revise its drafted policies to ensure feasibility as well as convenience for businesses.

Ha estimated that some 315 firms were using e-invoices as of the end of 2016, with 2.4 million bills verified by the tax authorities.

Source VNA