The idea displayed by the state (in its great benevolence) is to push companies towards more efficient processing methods. And instead of manually processing paper invoices that we send to each other (which is long, manual and prone to errors) why not process invoices in electronic form (i.e. files).
The other objective is to fight against VAT fraud since the state will be able to follow all the flows, buyers and sellers and to prepare the declarations for everyone.
So from a certain date, all companies will have to issue and be able to receive electronic invoices.
To summarize: it is no longer a paper invoice but an electronic invoice that is automatically processed (without manual intervention) all the way through (issue, transfer, integration).
Different formats have been defined. The one you will often hear about is FacturX, which includes a “classic” paper invoice (but in PDF format) and a file added to the PDF that includes all the information necessary for a computer system to process the invoice.
In a simplified way: you will need a tool capable of issuing electronic invoices (for example JeFacture, the tool of the order of the experts accountants) is capable of issuing electronic invoices. Most editors are working on it. You will use this tool to prepare and issue this invoice.
Then you will go through a platform to issue the invoice. This platform will be in charge of controlling it, communicating it to the state for the control and the preparation of the VAT returns and transfer it to your client. The state will propose a platform, but private actors are preparing themselves.
These intermediary platforms will thus be able to serve as intermediaries in transmission and reception. But the objective is that all customer/supplier flows will go through platforms that are linked to the state.
Of course, taxable persons who are not liable for VAT (micro-entrepreneurs and legal entities exempted from VAT) will not be forgotten, in particular in order to control the exceeding of thresholds.
Attention: from 2024 onwards, all companies will have to accept electronic invoices. The above dates concern the obligations to issue electronic invoices.
There will be some exclusions:
But don’t rejoice too quickly. There will be a second obligation, e-reporting, which will allow to include all these transactions (international transactions, with non-taxable persons such as individuals and certain transactions such as training, etc.).
You will have to map your flows and tools and see if they can support the transmission and reception of electronic invoices.
You will also have to identify which platform you will use for the transmission of the invoices (for the moment there is not yet a list of approved platforms, they are called PDP Partner Dematerialization Platform).
Important point: you will have to set up a reliable audit trail procedure (this will be the subject of another article).