LEGAL BRIEFING – New Regulations on Invoices

Overview

The goods sale and service provision invoices are currently governed by Decree 119/2018/ND-CP prescribing e-invoices for sale and goods and provision of service (“Decree 119”) and Decree 51/2010/ND-CP regulating goods sale and service provision invoices (“Decree 51”). The implementation of such regulations reveals certain inconsistencies and unsuitabilities.

In the context of a lack of consistent regulations prescribing goods sale and service provision invoices, on October 19, 2020, the Government issued Decree 123/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 123”) detailing the management and use of invoices when selling goods and providing services, the management and use of documents when proceeding procedures of tax, fee, and charge; the tasks, powers, and responsibilities of agencies, organizations, and individuals in the management and use of invoices and documents.

Decree 123 will take effect from July 1, 2022, and replace Decree 119 and Decree 51. At the same time, Decree 123 encourages agencies, organizations, and individuals who meet information technology infrastructure requirements to apply the provisions on electronic invoices (“e-invoice”) and documents of Decree 123 before July 1, 2022.

New regulations on issuing invoices

Compared with Decree 119 and Decree 51, Decree 123 tends to provide a schedule to step-by-step implement e-invoices. This Legal Briefing focuses on the contents of Decree 123 which are significantly different from Decree 119 and Decree 51.

Firstly, Decree 123 provides regulations on prohibited acts in the field of invoices and documents, namely:

  • Committing fraudulent acts such as using illegal invoices, illegally use of invoices;
  • Obstructing tax officials from performing their duties;
  • Illegally accessing, falsifying, and destroying information systems of invoices and documents;
  • Conducting bribery or similar activities related to invoices to gain illicit profits with organizations or individuals selling goods/services and individuals with related rights and obligations.

These regulations have not been specified in any provisions of Decree 119 and Decree 51.

Secondly, Decree 123 abolishes the following provision of Decree 119: the organization to implement e-invoices and e-invoices with code of tax authority shall be completed no later than November 1, 2020. Decree 123 encourages agencies, organizations and individuals to organize the application of e-invoices as soon as such agencies, organizations and individuals are able to do so.

Thirdly, for externally printed, internally printed invoices, e-invoices which have been announced to be issued or have been purchased, Decree 123 allows agencies and organizations to continue to use such invoices until the end of June 30, 2022, instead of until October 31, 2020, as specified in Decree 119.

Moreover, other than regulating the time of invoicing for (i) selling goods, (ii) providing services, (iii) delivering multiple times or handing over each item or service, Decree 123 specifies the time for issuing invoices in some specific cases such as:

  • Providing services in large quantity, arising frequently; 
  • Telecommunication services;
  • Construction and installation services;
  • Search, exploration, extraction, and processing of crude oil.

Subject to such regulation, the determination of the time of invoicing depends on the characteristics of goods or services, which makes it easier to determine the time of invoicing in specific cases and helps to reduces violations and disputes.

Last but not least, in addition to the 3 types of invoices specified in Decree 199, including value-added invoices, sales invoices, and other types of invoices (electronic stamps, electronic cards…), Decree 123 supplements 2 types of invoices including e-invoices for selling public assets and e-invoices for selling national reserve.

The new legal framework took effect on 01 July 2022 with detailed provisions on invoices and documents, and give more leeway for the application of e-invoice for the time being. Accordingly, it is advised to be updated with such regulations so that favorable provisions can be applied.

By Nguyen Dieu Quynh – Associate & Ha Thanh An – Traniee Associate

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