The Government issued Decree No 51/2010/ND-CP on May 14, replacing Decree No 89/2002/ND-CP on the management and use of invoices.

In contrast to the earlier decree, Decree No 51 does not require a uniform type of invoice but allows enterprises and organisation that satisfy conditions set by law to design its own specimen invoices.

The decree also defines electronic invoices for the first time under Vietnamese law as those issued and processed on a computerised network of organisations or individuals with tax codes when trading in goods or services and which are filed by computer in accordance with legal provisions on electronic transactions.

Organisations and enterprises which do not meet requirements under law for generating their own invoices or using electronic invoices must continue to use invoices under a form issued by provincial taxation departments.

An invoice is not required for transactions of less than 200,000 VND, unless requested by the buyer. However, proceeds on transactions of less than 200,000 VND not documented by invoices must be totaled at the end of each business day and a total of “retail without invoices” reported on a separate invoice.

Decree No 51 also sets administrative penalties, including fines of 1-100,000,000 VND in addition to some supplementary sanctions. The new decree takes effect on January 1 of next year./.