The Electronic Invoice: understanding the 2024 reform

In terms of invoicing, a major change is about to shake the landscape of French companies. From July 2024, new regulations will come into force, requiring all companies to issue electronic invoices. It’s a complicated topic, but don’t panic, we’ll decipher it all together.

1. Electronic invoice: what exactly is it?

The electronic invoice, also called e-invoicing, is not a novelty in itself. However, it will undergo a major transformation from 2024. It will no longer be content to simply be an electronically signed PDF or an invoice accompanied by its reliable audit trail, but it will now have to be composed of a data file structured, an XML schema, and be transmitted via a platform or portal. In other words, companies will no longer be able to send their invoices directly to their customers. These must necessarily pass through a portal so that the tax administration can capture the information it deems relevant.

2. Why this reform?

The main reason for this reform is the fight against VAT fraud. The objective is to halve the loss generated each year, or around 20 billion euros. In addition to this, it is also a European project. The European Commission is currently working on a directive on VAT in the digital age, which includes the generalization of the obligation of electronic invoices across the European Union.

3. Who is affected?

All companies located on French territory will be affected by this reform. They will have three major obligations: use new invoice formats, use a public portal or a private platform for submitting and receiving invoices and periodically transmit a report, the e-reporting, to the tax administration.

4. When should this be implemented?

The implementation of this reform will be done gradually depending on the size of the companies. Large companies will be the first affected from July 1, 2024. Mid-sized companies (ETI) will have to comply by January 1, 2025, and finally, VSEs and SMEs by January 1, 2026.

5. What invoice formats are allowed?

Three invoice formats will be authorized: PDF with qualified signature, tax EDI and Factur-X. The latter is particularly interesting because it is a hybrid format, mixing the PDF that we already know and a structured XML file. It will make it possible to maintain the formatting of current invoices (logo, colors, images, etc.) while associating the structured data necessary for the tax administration.

6. E-reporting: what is it?

E-reporting is a periodic report that companies must send to the tax administration. It will contain information on sales to individuals and international sales operations, as well as information on collections on sales of goods and services. The frequency of transmission of this report will depend on the company’s VAT regime.

7. What are the risks in the event of non-compliance?

In the event of non-compliance with these obligations, companies are exposed to financial sanctions. In the event of failure to issue an invoice in the correct format, the fine is 15 euros per invoice, capped at 15,000 euros per calendar year. In the event of non-issuance of tax flows (e-reporting), the fine is 250 euros per forgotten transmission, also capped at 15,000 euros per calendar year.

8. How to prepare for this reform?

Management software publishers are currently working to adapt their solutions to meet these new requirements. They play the role of dematerialization operators and will support companies in this transition. In addition, the public invoicing portal Chorus Pro will be transformed into a Public Invoicing Portal (PPF) to centralize all invoices and allow the tax administration to capture the necessary data.

This electronic invoice reform represents a real challenge for French companies. However, it is essential in the fight against VAT fraud and the harmonization of practices at European level. It is therefore essential for companies to prepare now to implement these new invoicing methods.