Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

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The French Presidency’s ministerial conference on e-invoicing, to be held on 10 February 2022, demonstrates its drive to spur dialogue around the EU-wide adoption of e-invoicing, with a view to standardising such practices. The event will facilitate discussion with European businesses regarding this tax streamlining effort – one that will fundamentally change the way many firms operate.

E-invoicing, a way to simplify how businesses operate

Though business-to-business e-invoicing is becoming more widespread in the European Union as well as in a number of other countries around the globe, there are still some holdouts. This is despite the fact that it provides a real way for firms to streamline how they do business. For example, more widespread use of e-invoicing in France will increase the competitiveness of companies by accelerating their digital transition, resulting in estimated savings of €4.5bn for smaller-sized firms. Over time, it could pave the way for pre-filled value added tax (VAT) returns. Plus, by improving tools designed to fight tax evasion, it means fairer competition between firms.

Our two goals for its implementation: simplify the tax environment and fight tax evasion so that law-abiding businesses can reap the benefits.

In Europe, there is growing interest around measures to digitise invoicing data. With regard to European VAT rules, business-to-business e-invoicing is ripe for further study, which is why the European Commission initiated a public consultation on the topic on 20 January 2022. These developments will greatly influence firms’ practices and the   reforms launched by various Member States to mainstream the use of e-invoicing.

Following in the footsteps of Member States like Spain and Italy, France decided to get behind this bold reform effort. One year after a report on VAT in the digital age was submitted to the French Parliament, order no. 2021-1190 of 15 September 2021 laid the legislative foundation for business-to-business e-invoicing and set the statutory timeline for its implementation (between 1 July 2024 and 1 January 2026).

The conference this 10 February will provide a forum for sharing implementation experience along with best practices in order to illustrate what the transition to e-invoicing entails and what businesses and government need to be successful in their endeavours. The event will also draw on the different perspectives of Member States, businesses and tax administrations. With EU institution members and professionals in attendance, the conference will offer a prime opportunity to touch on the benefits of European convergence and what could come of efforts to harmonise and update the Union’s VAT rules.

Olivier Dussopt, Minister Delegate, reporting to the Minister for the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, with responsibility for Public Accounts, will be joined by Vincent Van Peteghem, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Laura Castelli, Italian Deputy Minister of Economy, and Gonzalo Garcia Andrés, Spanish Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and Business Support, to discuss the importance of and their hopes for the transition to e-invoicing. Gerassimos Thomas, Director-General for Taxation and Customs Union at the European Commission (TAXUD), will give a presentation, on behalf of Paolo Gentiloni, EU Commissioner for Economy, on what harmonisation could look like in Europe.

The most technical reforms are often the ones that make the biggest difference for our businesses and our growth model. With e-invoicing, we can write into EU law a bold programme aimed at transforming government action and streamlining taxation so that Member States will be better armed to administer and levy taxes, not to mention fight tax evasion.

Olivier Dussopt, Minister Delegate for Public Accounts

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