At the moment, however, Special VAT Invoices still need to be printed out and exchanged with trading partners in paper form. The parties involved in the transaction must also retain and store the original invoice for future audit.
Therefore, the goal of Ningbo’s new pilot program is to start a new e-invoicing era in China and promote the use of electronic invoices. Special VAT invoices have the same validity, purpose, and basic usage rules as their paper equivalent. The e-invoice service platform developed by the STA will also be able to provide free issuance services to taxpayers.
In the future, individuals and companies will be able to check their specific VAT invoices using a specially developed platform. There, they should also be able to download the respective electronic invoice and ensure the validity of the electronic signature.
Who is affected? The list of taxpayers selected to participate in the pilot program has been published on the official site of the NMTB. Only those who are included in the list will be given the opportunity to issue VAT invoices electronically to other taxpayers within the NMTB’s jurisdiction, which is also the program’s region.
Previous pilot programs in China have focused primarily on issuing general electronic invoices. Thus, the implementation of this program is a significant step toward the goal of introducing e-invoicing nationwide by the end of the year.
The success of the program will determine whether expanding the scope to other regions is already worthwhile and whether full implementation for electronic special VAT invoices is a tangible goal next year.