France prepares for mandatory B2B e-invoicing
France has begun taking steps to make B2B e-invoicing mandatory.
Finance Law No. 2019-1479, published on 28th December, announced the French government’s intention to make business-to-business e-invoicing compulsory, pending authorization by the EU. The launch of the e-invoicing plan is scheduled for 1st January 2023 at the earliest, or 1st January 2025 at the latest. This leaves a 2-year margin for the date of implementation.
Article 153 of the finance law provides that e-invoicing between private entities will be rolled out gradually based on business size and sector.
As a member state of the EU, France is subject to European e-invoicing laws. E-invoicing in the private sector is regulated by Directive 2010/45/EU on the common system of value added tax. The regulation provides that member state governments cannot oblige enterprises to use e-invoicing and that the use of e-invoicing is subject to acceptance on the part of the recipient. Therefore, in order to transition to B2B e-invoicing, France must seek an exception from the European Parliament.
In order to do so, the French government must meet the conditions laid out in Article 395 on simplifying tax procedures or preventing certain types of tax evasion/avoidance in accordance with Directive 2006/112 /CE. According to the article, they will need to demonstrate that the purpose of obliging enterprises to invoice electronically is to simplify tax collection and to reduce tax evasion.
The recent French finance law was passed to demonstrate that this obligation will meet the objectives mentioned above. The law declares the government’s intention to make e-invoicing mandatory in the B2B sector with the aim of modernizing VAT collection and fiscal monitoring. It also provides for a report outlining conditions for implementation that will be submitted to the French and European parliaments by 1st September.
The French tax authority, Direction Generale des Finances Publiques (DGFiP), is responsible for coordinating the drafting of the report. The aim will be to identify and assess the most suitable technical, legal and operational solutions, particularly for transmitting data to the tax authorities in accordance with the operational constraints of the parties involved. The report will also evaluate the expected benefits of each option for VAT tax recovery and for businesses.
The DGFiP has commissioned an independent consultant to draft the report, which will consider all parties involved, including businesses, accounting professionals, and governmental bodies. The French tax authority is also receiving support from international experts to identify stakeholders’ needs, constraints and expectations.
Chorus Pro: a centralized B2B2G invoicing system
Building on the successful implementation of e-invoicing with public administrations through the Chorus Pro platform, the French government is considering replicating the model and extending it to the private sector.
To do so, the DGFiP, together with the Agency for State Financial Information Technology (Agence pour l'informatique financière de l'État, or AIFE), is assessing the possibility of using Chorus Pro for the declaration of invoices between enterprises, making Chorus Pro the central point for B2B2G invoices.
To analyze the feasibility of the system a pilot project has been underway with 50 companies since January. The project will analyze interactions between participants to identify constraints and propose improvements. The results of the pilot project will be used to draft the report submitted to the French parliament in September.
If the project is given the green light by the EU, the only remaining step for the French government will be publishing the regulation. These are some of the advantages the regulation offers:
- Current VAT declarations can be eliminated since e-invoices have all the information needed for fiscal monitoring, thusreducing processing time and costs for the government and businesses.
- Lower costs related to handling paper documents. Currently, the number of paper invoices issued in France is estimated at two to three billion.
At the moment, Italy is the only country to have obtained the special exemption provided for in Articles 281 and 232 of Directive 2006/112/EC from the EU to make e-invoicing between private companies, as well as between companies and individuals, obligatory nationwide.
As of 2018, all Italian businesses are required to use e-invoicing. As with Italy’s e-invoicing system for public administrations, FatturaPA, the system used to exchange invoices in the private sphere uses the Sistema di Interscambio (SdI) exchange system, which combines B2B and B2G invoicing in a single platform. This system also inspired the model France plans to implement with Chorus Pro.
Two years into Italy’s roll-out, the results are very positive. According to the latest report published by the Italian Treasury, Agenzia delle Entrate, VAT collection has increased by 3.6%, a great leap forward considering that growth of the Italian economy has been sluggish, hovering around 0.1%. Progress has also been made in simplifying processes, reducing the tax gap and streamlining other areas.
The European Council’s approval of Italy’s request for exemption and the positive results have created a precedent that will expedite approval for other EU members such as France.
EDICOM E-INVOICING SOLUTION IN FRANCE
EDICOM’s Chorus Pro solution integrates with your management system and fully automates the generation and delivery of invoices via the Chorus portal in accordance with AIFE requirements. It does so in a way that is fully transparent for users. EDICOM’s platform also validates invoices before sending so that you always know the status of messages, since confirmations are fully integrated with your company’s ERP.
EDICOM has also updated its GS1 standards for Facture Demat to continue offering our clients the best service with the highest quality standards.
EDICOM's e-invoicing platform is updated constantly in line with the latest technical and legislative requirements, not only in France but in all countries in scope. It is a scalable and global solution for the most demanding enterprises.