Businesses will be allowed to continue to use Ministry of Finance issued invoices until the end of first quarter next year, according to a newly issued instruction of Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung.

The instruction amended the January 1 deadline in an attempt to deal with obstacles raised through the implementation of Decree No 51/2010/ND-CP, which allows most companies to print their own invoices instead of having to obtain them from official agencies.

The extension will help save money for those who bought the invoices from the Ministry of Finance but would not have used them prior to December 31 2010.

Under the instruction, Hung also agreed in principle with the Finance Ministry's proposal to continue selling ‘red' invoices to small-sized businesses and those in poor areas, who cannot afford to print invoices, until the end of next year. These invoices serve as official proof of commercial transactions for tax and other purposes. However, small businesses will have to print their own invoices as of 2012.

The new instruction also stated that vouchers used in banking and marine services, which meet international regulations, will also be recognised for purposes of taxation. According to current regulations, the vouchers are not recognised as invoices so banking and marine transportation businesses are still required to obtain ‘red' invoices to pay tax, wasting both time and money. More than 350,000 companies are expected to become eligible to print their own invoices.

Director of the General Taxation Office's Policy Department Cao Anh Tuan said besides providing greater freedom to companies to do business, the new policy would completely change business invoice usage.

It would also save the Government some of the costs it incurs in printing the invoices, while companies would not have to go through the rigmarole of obtaining them, Tuan said.

However, analysts warned there could be difficulties during the process.

Careful monitoring of the printing process was imperative to eliminate the possibility of fraud by print companies, they said.

Tax offices were set for a hard time as thousands of enterprises would register to print their own invoices, they added./.