Vietnam rolls out electronic receipts campaign
A campaign to replace traditional paper-based receipts with electronic receipts (e-receipts) started yesterday, according to the General Department of Taxation (GDT).
The General Department of Taxation's electronic receipts portal. — Photo courtesy of GDT
The first phase of the campaign included a pilot phase in Ha Noi, HCM City, Binh Dinh, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong and Phu Tho. The general department encourages businesses to start issuing e-receipts, which must be verified and authorised by the general department before being given to customers.
The second phase was said to start from July next year when the campaign will roll out across the nation following a step-by-step road map. Lessons learned during the pilot project are expected to help smooth out the process and troubleshoot technical issues.
Head of the GDT Cao Anh Tuan said the move would help cut costs for both businesses and the public by reducing time-wasting in administration tasks.
Since the beginning of 2021, businesses have been permitted to print their own receipts or e-receipts if they meet all the requirements set out by the department instead of having to purchase paper receipts from the general department beforehand.
However, Tuan said there had been many instances in which individuals and businesses had been found to exploit loopholes to claim VAT returns, causing losses to the State's budget. In order to address this issue, the general department had proposed a number of solutions, which had since been approved by the National Assembly.
According to Pham Quang Toan, head of the GDT's IT Department, the process is fully automatic and will take less than a second. It is expected to cause no inconvenience to either businesses or customers. The electronic system will help the general department better monitor sales volume and enforce its policies.
Pham Minh Ngoc, an accountant from a construction firm in Ha Noi, said her firm had been using e-receipts for several years now. The benefits included a very fast and streamlined process, which took just a few seconds to issue one to customers. Her firms had also been able to save a significant amount by eliminating costs to print, mail and store receipts.
"It costs VND15,000-20,000 (US$0.85) just to mail a receipt to a customer while the cost of delivering an electronic one is almost zero," Ngoc said.
Meanwhile, businesses have expressed concern over the general department's IT infrastructure, which has experienced issues in handling a vast amount of requests in the past.
Nguyen Thai Linh, who runs a paper business based in Ha Noi, said he was concerned about the GDT's ability to process the vast number of requests generated during the pilot run, which include Ha Noi and HCM City, the country's two largest economic hubs.
There have been questions raised over the procedures to follow when businesses experience technical difficulties while issuing e-receipts. The GDT's system has had a rather spotty track record in dealing with a large number of requests in the past, especially during tax season.
"The GDT should have a contingency plan in case of technical problems," Ngoc said.
Thai Minh Giao, deputy-head of HCM City's taxation department, said over 173,000 or 75 per cent of all businesses in HCM City had been using e-receipts with a vast majority of them meeting the requirement to join the programme.
Mai Son, head of Ha Noi's taxation department, said 99 per cent of businesses in the capital city had issued e-receipts with over 65 per cent using e-receipts almost exclusively.
In order to assure businesses, the GDT has announced the establishment of a dedicated centre to handle e-receipt related issues. Taxpayers may also contact its 24/7 hotline or via email for immediate assistance and enquiries.