New Standard for China Tax Invoices Being Introduced

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Nov. 19 – China’s State Administration of Tax has issued Circular Guoshuifa (2009) #142 concerning the simplification and unification of general tax invoices.

This has largely been issued to facilitate the introduction of computerized tax data. The circular states that tax invoices will be divided into three categories come January 1, 2011: the general computer generated invoice, the hand written invoice and the fixed amount invoice.

Local tax authorities can select the types and specifications of each of these three categories for local use. Some invoices currently in national usage, such as airline electronic tickets, automobile sales invoices, land and river transportation invoices, construction industry invoices and real estate invoices will remain unchanged. This general invoice categorization does not include VAT invoices.

The circular provides for a transition period during which old invoices can still be used, and submitted in conjunction with the new invoice categories. This lasts until December 31, 2010, when the new unified invoice system will take over from January 1, 2011.

Companies conducting business in China will need to assess their invoicing procedures and review operations if they are not currently using machine-generated invoices, as this switch will be mandatory. Businesses should be prepared well in advance to meet the new invoicing issuance requirements and evaluate their invoicing procedures, applicable software and accounting systems well in advance of this change.

For assistance with invoicing, or software recommendations concerning tax and accounting systems in China, please contact Sabrina Zhang, the national tax partner for Dezan Shira & Associates, at