The French Minister of the Economy recently announced the launch of dematerialized invoicing, a year behind schedule. A new timetable for implementation of the e-invoicing reform has also been announced.
A year's delay
While Bercy was counting on electronic invoicing to boost its VAT revenues, it has been decided to postpone the scheme's entry into force, scheduled for July 1, 2024. The new timetable, made official on September 28 by Bruno Le Maire at the 78th Congress of Chartered Accountants in Montpellier, will in the end be more than a year late.
The Minister of the Economy is talking about a new three-phase timetable:
- A test phase planned for 2024;
- Testing of the platform in 2025 for all volunteer companies;
- E-invoicing will be widespread by 2026.
Originally, all companies were to be able to receive electronic invoices by July 1, 2024. Emissions were then to be staggered according to company size, with VSE/SMEs being the last to be affected, after large groups and ETIs.
Bruno Le Maire's choice of venue for this announcement is no coincidence. Chartered accountants are at the forefront of the reform, since they will be responsible for implementing it for VSEs and SMEs.
#CongresOEC | #ElectronicInvoicing: "I propose a 3-year timetable:- CNOEC 🚀 (@CSOEC) September 29, 2023
- an initial test phase in 2024,
- testing of the platform on a voluntary basis in 2025, - and definitive implementation in 2026"@BrunoLeMaire pic.twitter.com/WGAo1fCqwi
The new timetable still has to be validated by Parliament when the Finance Bill for 2024 is passed.
A postponement criticized
The date of implementation of the e-invoicing reform is important, as nearly 4 million companies are affected. It could be the equivalent of the "prélèvement à la source" (withholding tax) for households. The stakes are twofold: for Bercy, the system should reinforce the fight against VAT fraud, estimated at 20 billion euros a year; for managers, the process should be smoother with pre-filled VAT and reduced payment times.
Despite the expected benefits, the postponement of the reform does not meet with unanimous approval. While Bercy points to companies' lack of preparation (a quarter thought they would not be compliant by July 2024, according to the latest Barometer published in September by software publisher Generix), many professionals point to the complexity of the system.
" Italy went through it four years ago with success, but its reform was simpler," says Elvire Tardivon, partner at Grant Thornton Société d'Avocats, interviewed by Les Echos newspaper.
Another reason for the postponement of the reform is the delay in the creation of the public invoicing platform managed by the Agence pour l'informatique financière de l'État. This platform will collect all data intended for the tax authorities.
It remains to be seen whether the new timetable will be respected, after several fiascos including the one-stop shop that still looms over electronic invoicing.
#GuichetUnique: "The idea was excellent, the execution left much to be desired.- CNOEC 🚀 (@CSOEC) September 29, 2023
We ran into unbearable difficulties for months. I would like to apologize to all the companies." pic.twitter.com/0GtEHwrsk1