Does an electronic invoice require a customer signature?

It is not necessary to have the buyer's electronic signature

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha - Policy Department (General Department of Taxation) said that according to the provisions of Decree 51/2010/ND-CP, in many cases it is not necessary to have the buyer's signature. "Previously, businesses had problems with this issue and the Ministry of Finance issued Official Dispatch No. 2402/BTC-TCT providing guidance" - Ms. Ha said.
Specifically in Official Dispatch No. 2402/BTC-TCT:
"first. Electronic invoices must have the following contents:

e) Electronic signature as prescribed by law of the seller; Date, month, year of preparation and sending of invoice. Electronic signature as prescribed by law of the buyer in case the buyer is an accounting unit.

2. Some cases where electronic invoices do not have all the required content are implemented according to separate instructions from the Ministry of Finance."

Pursuant to the above regulations, in case the buyer is not an accounting unit or is an accounting unit if there are records and documents proving the provision of goods and services between the seller and the buyer as follows: : economic contracts, warehouse delivery notes, goods delivery records, payment receipts, receipts, etc., the seller issues an electronic invoice to the buyer according to regulations. The electronic invoice does not necessarily have to be have the buyer's electronic signature.

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The Ministry of Finance assigned the Department of Taxation to consider each specific case and the conditions to be met by businesses to guide the exemption of the buyer's electronic signature requirement on electronic invoices.

Also according to Ms. Ha, the General Department of Taxation is currently drafting a circular guiding Decree 119/2018/ND-CP on electronic invoices. In this draft, only a few special cases require the buyer's signature, the rest are mostly optional.

“In cases of providing goods and services between businesses; or the invoice is of great value and both parties have compatible information technology infrastructure, then the buyer needs to sign a digital signature on the invoice. Therefore, the draft circular has specific instructions for this case. In the remaining cases, it is not necessary for the buyer to have a signature to be able to calculate deductible expenses and deduct corporate income tax (CIT)" - Ms. Ha said.

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2. Regulations in some cases where electronic invoices must have signatures of the seller and buyer

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha also said that the regulation that some cases of electronic invoices must have signatures at both ends (seller and buyer) has been studied by the General Department of Taxation on international practice. For example, when an electronic invoice has a large value and is transferred by a business to a bank as collateral for a loan, it must have digital signatures of both the seller and the buyer.
Or in case of payment via bank, the electronic invoice must have a signature on both ends. Research by the General Department of Taxation shows that many countries apply this regulation to ensure strictness and avoid errors in invoices.
“In Germany, banks have software to create electronic invoices, the seller and buyer can create electronic invoices on the bank's application, the bank is the intermediary to evaluate the legality of the invoice. electronically and make payments via banks. In this case, it is necessary to have a two-headed digital signature" - Ms. Ha said.
Ms. Ha also revealed that the draft circular guiding Decree 119/2018/ND-CP specifically stipulates which cases require the buyer's signature and which cases do not require a signature. of the buyer. This regulation is consistent with the previous guidance dispatch of the Ministry of Finance.

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