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China Introduces Fully Digitized E-Invoice with New Pilot Program

Victor Duarte
February 1, 2022

The Tax Bureaus of Shanghai, Guangdong Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have all issued announcements stating they intend to carry out a new pilot program for selected taxpayers based in some areas of the provinces. The pilot program will involve adopting a new e-invoice type, known as a fully digitized e-invoice.

Introduction of a new e-invoice type

Many regions in China are currently part of a pilot program that enables newly registered taxpayers operating in China to voluntarily issue VAT special electronic invoices to claim input VAT, mostly for B2B purposes.

The new fully digitized e-invoice is a simplified and upgraded version of current electronic invoices in China. The issuance and characteristics of the fully digitized invoice are different from other e-invoices previously used in the country.

Characteristics of the fully digitized e-invoice

  • The fully digitized invoice is supervised by the local Taxation Bureaus as part of the pilot program
  • The legal effect and basic purpose are the same as those of existing paper invoices
  • Fully digitized invoices can be delivered in the form of data messages, which eliminates specific format requirements such as PDF or OFD
  • The basic content includes dynamic QR code, invoice number, invoice date, buyer information, seller information, quantity, unit price, amount, tax rate, tax amount, total, total price, and tax
  • After the pilot program taxpayer has passed a “real-name verification” they can immediately use the electronic invoice service platform to issue invoices without the need to use special equipment for tax control (e.g., UKey device)
  • Pilot taxpayers can automatically deliver fully digitized invoices through the tax digital account of the electronic invoice service platform and can also deliver fully electronic invoices themselves via email or other means

Verification of fully digitized e-invoices

Relying on the national unified electronic invoice service platform, tax authorities will provide selected taxpayers for this pilot program with services such as issuance, delivery, and inspection of fully digitized e-invoices 24 hours a day. Taxpayers will be able to verify the information of all electronic invoices through the electronic invoice service platform or the national VAT invoice inspection platform (https://inv-veri.chinatax.gov.cn ).

What’s next for e-invoicing in China?

This new pilot program has been effective in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Foshan, Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone, and Hohhot since 1 December 2021. Despite the lack of an official timeline for implementation, it’s expected that the scope of this pilot program will be extended in 2022 to cover new taxpayers and regions in China, paving the way for nationwide adoption of the fully digitized e-invoice.

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Author

Victor Duarte

Victor is a Regulatory Counsel at Sovos TrustWeaver. Based in Stockholm and originally from Venezuela, he obtained a Law degree and a specialisation degree in Tax Law in his home country. Victor also earned a Master´s degree in European and Internal Tax Law from Lund University in Sweden.
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