We discuss the expansion of e-invoicing in China as the digital e-fapiao program widens its pilot roll-out with unique features.
Fully digitalized e-fapiao, which are electronic invoices (e-invoices), is a completely new type of electronic invoice, which is different from the previously introduced normal value-added tax (VAT) e-fapiao and the traditional paper fapiao but has the same legal effect.
The pilot program of fully digitalized e-fapiao kicked off on December 1, 2021, when selected taxpayers in Shanghai, Guangdong (Guangzhou, Foshan, Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone), and Inner Mongolia (Hohhot) started to issue and accept fully digitalized e-fapiao.
In 2022 and 2023, the pilot program of fully digitalized e-fapiao keeps expanding, with a broader scope of taxpayers being able to issue and accept fully digitalized e-fapiao. The fully digitalized e-fapiao program is expected to be rolled out nationwide by 2025.
Under the fully digitalized e-fapiao programs, a national unified e-invoicing service platform (to be launched yet) will provide pilot taxpayers 24-hour online services to issue, deliver, and verify fully digitalized e-fapiao free of charge. This means the special tax control equipment, such as golden tax USB disk, tax control USB disk, and tax UKey, are no longer needed.
Following the introduction of the normal VAT e-fapiao and the construction of the Golden Tax System Phase IV, the fully digitalized e-fapiao marks the latest effort by the Chinese government to promote the digital upgradation and intelligent transformation of tax collection and administration and reduce the cost of tax management.
In this article, we’ll introduce the key features of fully digitalized e-fapiao, walk you through the pilot fully digitalized e-fapiao programs in 2022 and 2023, and explain the potential impacts of fully digitalized e-fapiao on your businesses.
What is fully digitalized e-fapiao?
The fully digitalized e-fapiao is a completely new type of electronic invoice. It has the same legal effect and usage as the existing paper fapiao but has no sheets. Like other VAT electronic fapiao, it has no invoice copies (normal paper fapiao consists of the stub copy, the deduction copy, and the account-keeping copy for the fapiao issuers and receivers to keep and use).
The fully digitalized e-fapiao will also look neater, with only 17 items of content: dynamic QR code, invoice number, issuance date, buyer information, seller information, project name, specification and model, unit, quantity, unit price, amount, tax rate/levy rate, tax amount, total, ad valorem and tax total (in words and figures), remarks, and invoice.
With their introduction, there will be a total of six kinds of fapiao co-existing in China during the country’s ongoing fapiao system reforms. The six types are special VAT fapiao, general VAT fapiao, special VAT e-fapiao, general VAT e-fapiao, fully digitalized special VAT e-fapiao, and fully digitalized general VAT e-fapiao.
The samples of the fully digitalized electronic fapiao can be found below:
In comparison, the normal VAT electronic fapiao and conventional fapiao looks more complicated as below:
What are the new features of fully digitalized e-fapiao?
As a new type of electronic invoice, the fully digitalized e-fapiao will have unique features as explained below.
Simplified procedures to obtain and issue fully digitalized e-fapiao
- “No medium”: Taxpayers under the pilot program will not need to get the special tax control equipment (the medium) in advance to issue fapiao; Instead, they can issue the fully digitalized e-fapiao through the national e-invoicing service platform.
- “Fapiao number automatic assignment system”: Taxpayers under the pilot program will not need to obtain the fapiao through application to the tax bureaus; Instead, they can obtain the fully digitalized e-fapiao through the e-invoicing service platform, which will automatically assign a unique fapiao number when the fapiao information is generated.
- “Managing the total amount of fapiao based on taxpayers’ credibility”: The tax authorities will determine the initial maximum amount of invoices issued by the taxpayer in a calendar month and make dynamic adjustments thereto – based on the risk level, taxpaying credit rating, actual operating conditions, and other factors of a taxpayer. The maximum invoices amount refers to the upper limit of the total invoice amount the pilot taxpayer’s invoice issued within a natural month, excluding VAT. Different from traditional paper fapiao, the fully digitalized e-fapiao is not limited by the number of fapiao pieces or the maximum among of a single fapiao.
Eventually, newly established taxpayers can issue a fully digital e-fapiao as soon as they start the business and there will be no conventional ‘prepositive procedures.’
More convenient ways to issue, deliver, and verify fapiao
- Diversified channels to issue fapiao: Pilot taxpayers can issue the fully digitalized e-fapiao through the unified e-invoicing service platform. In future, they may be able to issue such e-fapiao through a terminal or the mobile app. This way they will no longer require special tax control equipment.
- One-stop e-invoicing service platform: After logging onto the platform, pilot taxpayers can issue, deliver, and verify fapiao on the single one platform, instead of completing related operations on multiple platforms as before.
- More widely applicable fapiao data: Pilot taxpayers’ tax digital accounts on the e-invoicing service platform will automatically collect invoice data for inquiry, downloading, and printing by pilot taxpayers.
Once the fully digitalized e-fapiao is issued, the fapiao information will automatically be sent to the tax digital accounts of both the issuer and the receiver for them to check and download. The issuers can track the invoice usage of the receiver in real time through the tax digital account ((such as whether the VAT has been deducted or not).
These digitalized fapiao data will also lay a foundation for taxpayers to pre-fill the ‘one integrated form’ for tax declaration.
- No specific digital formats required: Unlike normal VAT e-fapiao, which has to be in PDF or OFD formats, fully digitalized e-fapiao is not required to be saved in a specific digital format. Pilot taxpayers can deliver fully digitalized e-fapiao through their tax digital accounts on the e-invoicing service platform, or deliver fully digitalized e-fapiao by email, QR code, or other means. This will reduce fapiao delivery costs and make it easier for taxpayers to process fapiao.
- Unblocked channel to access tax services: The e-invoicing service platform will incorporate more interactive features, such as smart consulting and objection submission functions.
In addition to the above, in the future, the e-invoicing service platform is expected to support the direct connection with ERP and other financial software of the majority of enterprises to realize the integrated operation of invoice reimbursement, entry, and filing.
The expansion of the pilot fully digitalized e-fapiao programs
After the first round of trial in Shanghai and selected cities of Guangdong and Inner Mongolia, the pilot fully digitalized e-fapiao program keeps expanding the scope of issuers and recipients in 2022 and 2023:
- Starting from April 1, 2022, the pilot program in Guangdong province was further extended from the original three cities and zones to cover more selected taxpayers in the whole province (excluding Shenzhen).
- Starting from April 25, 2022, the pilot program in Inner Mongolia was extended from Hohhot to selected taxpayers in the whole autonomous region.
- Starting from May 10, 2022, taxpayers in Sichuan province have been allowed to receive invoices (including fully digitalized e-fapiao) issued by selected taxpayers in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shanghai municipality, and Guangdong province (excluding Shenzhen) via the electronic invoice service platform.
- Starting from May 23, 2022, the pilot program for fully-digitalized e-fapiao has been conducted among selected taxpayers in Shanghai following the updated rules.
- Starting from June 21, 2022, the scope of fully digitalized e-fapiao recipients has been further expanded to Beijing, Shenzhen, Jiangsu province, Shandong province (excluding Qingdao), and Zhejiang Province. Meanwhile, Shanghai, Guangdong (excluding Shenzhen), and Inner Mongolia have started to accept fully digitalized e-fapiao issued by all three pilot cities/provinces, rather than only accepting the fully digitalized e-fapiao issued within their respective jurisdiction.
- Starting from June 25, 2022, the pilot program in Shanghai was extended from Xuhui District to selected taxpayers in the whole city.
- Starting from July 18, 2022, the scope of fully digitalized e-fapiao recipients has been further expanded to Chongqing, Hebei, Henan, Fujian, Anhui, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Hunan, and Hubei.
- Starting from July 31, 2022, the scope of fully digitalized e-fapiao recipients will further be expanded to Qingdao, Ningbo, and Xiamen.
- Starting from August 28, 2022, the scope of fully digitalized e-fapiao recipients will further be expanded to Tianjin, Shanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and Hainan.
- Starting from October 27, 2022, Guangdong shall expand the pilot program for the issuance of fully-digitalized e-fapiao to cover newly registered taxpayers in the whole province (excluding Shenzhen). It will also cover other taxpayers in batches by industries and regions so that they can issue fully digitalized e-fapiao via the electronic invoice service platform.
- Starting from October 28, 2022, the pilot program of issuing fully digitalized e-fapiao was expanded to selected taxpayers in Sichuan province.
- Starting from November 30, 2022, the pilot program of issuing fully digitalized e-fapiao was expanded to selected taxpayers in Xiamen.
- Starting from January 20, 2023, the pilot program of issuing fully digitalized e-fapiao in Shanghai was expanded to cover all newly registered taxpayers. It is clarified that taxpayers in Shanghai will not need to use special or ordinary VAT electronic invoices from the dates when they are included in the pilot program.
- Starting from January 28, 2023, the pilot program of issuing fully digitalized e-fapiao was expanded to selected taxpayers in Chongqing, Qingdao, Dalian, Tianjin, and Shaanxi province.
As of January 31, 2023, the scope of issuing the fully digitalized e-fapiao has been expanded to Shanghai, Guangdong, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, Xiamen, Chongqing, Qingdao, Tianjin, Dalian, and Shaanxi, and the acceptance scope of the fully digitalized e-fapiao issued by selected taxpayers in the pilot cities had been expanded nationwide.