Will e-invoices soon be mandatory in France?
This proposal calls for two observations:The first is that what is involved is a half-measure that puts the cart before the horse. To receive e-invoices, there needs to be suppliers issuing them. The amendment does not make the issuance of e-invoices mandatory for suppliers, although it indicates that by 2020, to the extent all holders of public procurement contracts will be required to transmit their invoices electronically, that they should be allowed to use these tools in their dealings with other companies. The underlying idea is that public sector suppliers should be able to use their electronic invoicing tool to invoice their private clients. The idea is seductive, but runs up against several objections: first, this measure is far from concerning all suppliers. It will also require private clients to equip themselves with the same tools as public clients to receive and accept electronic invoices, which supposes that the market for e-invoicing platforms will undergo harmonious growth, which has not been the case to date. The second observation is that if this has not been the case, this is in large part due to the complexity of implementing e-invoicing, a situation that has worsened with the transposition in France of Directive 2010/45/EU: uncertainties as to the practical application of the audit trail, imprecision concerning the use of RGS (French Security Regulations on electronic exchanges between users and administrative authorities) ** and *** certificates, considered by the tax authorities as being “equivalent” to a secure signature.
It should also be added that the entry into force in France of the European Regulation on “digital trust” (EiDas) on July 1, 2016 will not facilitate the already laborious adoption of e-invoices, since it will require a complete overhaul of the RGS texts.