China will introduce more regulations for its online invoice management system in a bid to standardize the industry and curb tax evasion.
In a statement last Thursday on the Chinese Central Government's Web site, the Chinese State Administration of Taxation said the new policy will take effect on April 1, 2013.
In China, invoices or "fa piao" are offical government-regulated receipts used to track tax payments and deter tax evasion. These receipts are usually the only form of accepted paperwork by companies when processing expense claims.
The taxation office said the new measures were introduced to strengthen the management of invoices, to prevent tax evasion and to formalize online invoicing tools and methods, the ministry said.
The online invoices in China refer to the receipts--which can still be printed--issued by a business which has a system linked to the tax authorities so the information is sent directly. This is in contrast with manual invoices which require the business to have multiple carbon copies of the transaction.
The new measures noted if the issuer of the invoice needs to change the details of the invoice, they must submit a written notice to the tax authorities which will then check the information before allowing the change.
Another rule said that the recipient of the online invoice must check if the information is correct and complete. If there is wrong information on the invoice, the buyer can reject the invoice which cannot be used for tax submission.
Those issuing invoices cannot use the online invoice system to issue fake invoices or other illegal activities. It also noted a seller which releases a credit memo will need to retrieve the old online invoice and edit the amount in the online invoicing system.
Businesses with faulty Internet connections and who cannot process an invoice online are allowed to manually issue the invoice. They are not allowed to change the information of the invoice and must upload the details within 48 hours.
The announcement follows complaints by a representative at the National People's Congress that the e-commerce industry evaded more than 100 billion yuan (US$15.9 billion) in taxes in 2012 because they did not issue invoices. Howover, an official at from the tax authorities refuted the claims, saying that it was not possible for a business to guess how much tax was omitted without research.