Sinisa Mali: ‘Electronic invoices will improve the economic environment’

In an article he wrote for LinkedIn, the Minister of Finance, Sinisa Mali, explains the improvements of the new Law on Electronic Invoicing in Serbia.

“The new Law on Electronic Invoicing is part of the structural reforms that will significantly improve the business environment in the Republic of Serbia and will greatly facilitate business operations, which are two of the most important goals we had in mind when drafting this law. Firstly, from 1 January 2022, doing business with the state will become cheaper and safer, so the prescribed method of sending, receiving and storing electronic invoices will gradually be adopted by companies in mutual transactions,” the Minister says.

The structural reform, of which the e-invoicing law is an integral part, involves two measures: the introduction of a new taxation model and the transition to e-invoicing. As regards the introduction of a new taxation model, a new law was adopted in late 2020 and its implementation will start on 1 January 2022. The Taxation Act will contribute to the suppression of the shadow economy, more efficient control and better tax collection.

The envisaged taxation model is based on an online scheme that will allow the Serbian Tax Administration to present data on issued tax bills in real-time. The Taxation Law creates the conditions for efficient monitoring and control of taxpayers at risk of tax evasion. Obviously, this will facilitate better control of tax payments at the Tax Administration premises so fewer field checks would be needed.  

The use of e-invoices will be free of charge to avoid additional costs to businesses and the implementation of the e-invoice law will certainly speed up the work and business process, as well as provide greater legal certainty to all businesses when it comes to submitting and receiving invoices, as well as their better storage. In addition, the new invoice exchange system will save time and allow for faster collection of invoices between companies, in addition to having a positive impact on reducing some of the costs that are now borne by businesses.

The new regulatory framework envisages the introduction of a centralised platform for the exchange of electronic invoices, both between businesses (enterprise to enterprise) and in the area of private and commercial transactions with the public sector (enterprise – government), with the aim of fully replacing paper invoices with digital ones. The digital invoice will be transmitted via a centralised platform from the issuer to the invoice recipient.

The law provides for several deviations from the mandatory e-invoicing regime. Firstly, as far as individual transactions are concerned, no mandatory e-invoicing has been introduced. Moreover, the obligation of e-invoicing in transactions between private sector entities is also restricted, as an unlimited e-invoicing obligation between all private sector entities is regulated by the Directive 2014/55 / EU.

With the exception of the public sector, the range of business entities covered by the provisions of the E-Invoicing Law is reduced to taxpayers with value added (VAT), leaving the possibility for non-VAT taxpayers to voluntarily register to use the system (provided that they are self-employed taxpayers) The rights and obligations of the new law, therefore, do not concern natural persons, i.e. ordinary citizens.

“I would like to underline that there will be a gradual introduction of the obligation to issue and receive electronic invoices. Three dates are crucial: 1 January 2022, 1 July 2022 and 1 January 2023. First, the public sector is obligated to receive (and store) e-invoices, as well as to issue the e-invoice to another public sector entity. At the same time, there is an obligation for the private sector entity to issue an e-invoice to the public sector entity. On the other hand, the obligation of a private sector entity to receive and store an e-invoice issued by a public sector entity, as well as e-invoices issued by a private sector entity, applies from 1 July 2022. Finally, the obligations to issue and store e-invoices in transactions between private sector entities come into force from 1 January 2023. The dates from which the obligation to electronically record the calculation of value-added tax are also indicated,” Minister Mali said and added:

“It is provided that an e-invoice may be printed in one or more copies until the expiry of the period for the mandatory storage of e-invoices, so as to guarantee the authenticity of the origin and the integrity of the content of the printed invoice. This is important since the law establishes that an e-invoice is a credible document if it is sent by the issuer of an e-invoice or an intermediary on its behalf to the recipient of an e-invoice via an e-invoicing system, which leads to an improvement in legal certainty in enforcement as well.”

(LinkedIn, 04.05.2021)





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