Roche & Cie

Digitalization of paper invoices: Reminder of the procedure

08 Mar 2018

Legal entities may, under certain conditions set out below, scan their paper invoices, issued or received to keep them for the six-year tax period.

(see the document retention period for businesses and individuals) since March 30, 2017.

The administration has just indicated that the original invoice (paper) remains the proof of the right to deduct VAT from the company. However, the administration accepts that the digital archiving of these invoices can be considered as valid proof against the VAT as soon as the methods of digitization of these invoices are respected.

The administration specifies however that the company which presents a digitized invoice not fulfilling the conditions is then obliged to provide this invoice in paper format!

If the company is no longer in possession of the paper invoice, the administration can then question its right to deduct VAT.

To avoid litigation, the administration asks companies that use digital invoices to comply with the conditions. Let’s take stock of that.


Digitization modalities

The procedures for implementing the device for scanning paper invoices are strict:

  • Digitization must be carried out under conditions that guarantee the reproduction of the invoices in the same terms in terms of image and content, the image processing devices being prohibited. In the case of file compression, this file must operate without loss.
  • Digitization can be done by the company itself or by a third party.
  • Digital archiving operations must be defined according to a documented organization that is subject to internal controls to ensure the availability, readability, and integrity of digitized paper invoices throughout the retention period.
  • Each scanned document must be kept in PDF or PDF A / 3 format and be accompanied by: either a server stamp based on a certificate conforming at least to the one-star security general level (GSR); a digital fingerprint; an electronic signature based on a certificate conforming, at a minimum, to the one-star level RGS; or any equivalent secure device based on a certificate issued by a certification authority on the French trusted list.
  • Finally, each file must be timestamped.

Cabinet Roche & Cie, English speaking accountant in Lyon, France.
Specialist in Real-Estate and Non-resident taxation.