Finance Law: everything you need to know about the widespread use of electronic invoicing in France in 2024-2026

Today, more than 2 billion invoices are issued and exchanged in France each year, a number of which are issued electronically. This figure is expected to rise rapidly from 2024 onwards following the entry into force of the 2020 Finance Act. Article 153 makes electronic invoicing, or "e-invoicing", compulsory for commercial activities between companies.

It should be noted that the obligation to send invoices in electronic format has already been in force since1 January 2020 for exchanges between companies and the public sector.

The main purpose of this law is to reduce VAT fraud, but also to reduce the costs of transferring declarations and, above all, of processing invoices. It also allows the tax authorities to have a real-time view of the situation of businesses. In this article, we reveal everything you need to know about the Finance Act 2020.

Loi-Finances

Electronic invoicing: definition

Electronic invoicing is the automated creation, exchange and processing of charges between suppliers and buyers. The invoice is transmitted, processed and archived electronically and in a secure and readable format. Electronic invoices include, as with paper, all the mandatory information that makes them an official document.

However, be careful not to confuse the dematerialised invoice with the digitised paper invoice. The latter document has no value for the tax authorities. 

The benefits of electronic invoicing

Electronic invoicing offers many advantages:

Reduced risk of error: thanks to the automation of invoice processing, the risk of error related to manual steps is considerably reduced.

Faster payment: the automated processing of invoices reduces the validation time and therefore makes payment faster than with a paper invoice.

A secure procedure: Switching from paper to electronic documents makes it easier to find documents and above all to control the management process and access to data.

Real-time visibility of cash flow: electronic invoicing provides a precise view of cash flow at any given time. Accounting managers can accurately monitor incoming and outgoing flows with less delay than with paper invoices.

 

 

The guide to understanding and anticipating the generalisation of electronic invoicing in 2023

Finance Act: the objectives of the 2024-2026 regulations

Finance law: a long term project

The Finance Law, which introduces the obligation for companies to switch to electronic invoicing, was prompted by the European directive of 13 July 2010. This directive amends the 2006 VAT directive and lays the foundations for electronic invoicing in the EU countries.

At the same time, numerous reforms have been adopted at international level in the context of Continuous TransactionControls. The Finance Law was introduced to combat VAT fraud. In particular, Article 153 of the Finance Act 2020 introduces the generalisation of electronic invoicing between businesses by 2024/2026.

The latter has already been implemented in the context of B2G relations in France via the Chorus platform, but also in Europe thanks to Directive 2014/55/EU, which obliges EU countries to be able to receive electronic invoices.

Dematerialisation of B2B invoices: the objectives of the Finance Act

The generalisation of electronic invoicing at BtoB level has several objectives:

  • Increasing the competitiveness of businesses: electronic invoicing greatly reduces the time needed to process and manage invoices and thus reduces administrative costs related to accounting. According to the government, the switch to electronic invoicing should save at least €4.5 billion.
  • Fighting VAT fraud : VAT fraud represents approximately 15 billion euros of losses each year for the French State. The switch to all-electronic systems should therefore enable it to refine its control tools and better combat this phenomenon.
  • Improving knowledge of company activities: real-time feedback on company activities enables the administration to gain a better understanding of companies and thus to adjust actions in terms of control and economic and fiscal policy.
  • Facilitate VAT returns : businesses save time on their returns thanks to pre-filling.

 

Finance Law and generalisation of electronic invoicing: what will change by 2024/2026

By 2026, all French companies, from very small businesses to large groups, will have to adopt electronic invoicing and the digital transmission of data in their exchanges.

In order to set up this organisation, two solutions were originally envisaged:

The V-model: this consists of sending all the vendor's invoices via the public Chorus platform. This platform transmits the documents to the client and the administration. Note that the link between the vendor and Chorus can also be made via a private platform.

The Y model: This involves the direct exchange of invoices between companies, using authorised private platforms. The latter must also be able to extract information for the tax authorities and transmit it to Chorus.

 

In a report published in November 2020, the Directorate General of Public Finances (DGFIP) wanted to encourage the implementation of the "Y" model. Among the arguments in favour of this solution is the possibility of retaining the electronic invoice exchanges already in place by certain companies.

Another important element noted by the Council of Ministers on 15 September 2021 is the timetable:

  • 1 July 2024: Obligation for all to be able to receive electronic invoices.
  • 1 July 2024: Obligation to issue electronically for large companies.
  • 1 January 2025: Requirement for TSEs to issue electronically
  • 1 January 2026: Obligation to issue electronically for SMEs

 

So don't be late, it's already time to anticipate the entry into force of this law by choosing tools that meet the requirements of the new law. Freedz is a collaborative platform that allows customers and their suppliers to exchange electronic invoices in a secure manner. A solution that is perfectly adapted to the forthcoming legal constraints on electronic invoicing.

 

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