Companies: electronic invoicing mandatory from 2023

From January 1, 2023, all companies, whatever their size, will have to send their invoices electronically. The French government intends to make this a widespread practice, in order to step up the fight against VAT fraud. Here's an overview of what you need to know about this new invoicing method.

A progressive obligation

Article 56 of the 2020 Finance Bill introduces a progressive obligation to accept electronic invoices in inter-company relations, taking into account the size and sector of activity of these players. In other words, in BtoB, all companies will have to switch to dematerialization, starting with large corporations in 2023, followed by ETIs in 2024 and VSEs/SMEs in 2025.

Article 56 also calls for a report to be submitted to Parliament on the conditions for implementing this obligation between VAT taxpayers, in terms of technical and operational solutions.

Fighting fraud more effectively

The dematerialization of invoices and their data aims to achieve several objectives:

  • Eliminate paper invoice processing constraints and secure commercial exchanges,
  • Strengthening the fight against tax fraud and reducing the VAT gap through automated cross-checking,
  • A better understanding of the company's activities, enabling effective management of government actions,
  • Simplify VAT returns with pre-filling.

In its report entitled " VAT in the digital age in France ", published on October 15, 2020, the DGFIP highlights the multiple advantages of electronic invoicing:

  • low cost,
  • a continuous automated billing chain,
  • regular monitoring of invoice processing progress,
  • a reduction in payment disputes.

What does this mean for companies?

This obligation has an impact on the way companies are organized, as they will have to implement documented and permanent controls for all electronic and paper invoices, in order toestablish traceability between the issue of the invoice and the delivery of the good or service.

In the case of electronic invoices, the parties concerned will also have to implement an electronic signature based on a qualified or RGS-level certificate.

Then, for structured electronic invoices, i.e. those that follow a standard agreed between the parties, it will be necessary to implement the procedures defined by decree, which include :

  • systematic control of mandatory information,
  • keeping a file of partners,
  • keeping a chronological, archived summary list of exchanges.

Today, the gradual introduction of electronic invoicing is raising concerns among some business leaders, who fear the costs of using this solution and anticipate difficulties in reorganizing. Other uncertainties relate to the security and durability of the platforms responsible for transmitting invoices, and the methods for managing invoice rejections.