Criticism over new electronic invoicing system

The Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Similar Businesses in Portugal (AHRESP) has criticised the new legal requirement to introduce electronic invoicing in restaurants, bars, shops and other establishments selling directly to the end-user, starting in January 2013.

AHRESP’s Vice-President Júlio Fernandes claimed the changes will introduce more expense for small and medium-sized businesses – on average between €750 and €1500 to purchase the necessary equipment (computerised cash register) – in addition to increased IVA, energy and water tariffs.

The new electronic invoicing system took effect on January 1, forcing all restaurants, similar establishments and retail shops to update their cash registers with new software or purchase new equipment, so that each purchase produces an invoice. The cost of new machines varies according to the devices, sophistication and capability.

Júlio Fernandes further believes that these costs will continue to make life harder for the sector, with things only getting worse: “Starting February 8, accountants will have to prepare all the invoicing documentation of January to send to the Finanças services, which means accounting companies have had to re-adjust their fees to allow for the new workload. It’s another expense for companies on top of everything else.”

Invoicing machines sold out

In spite of the law forcing businesses to have electronic invoicing working by January 1, many establishments won’t be able to legally comply with the new system as the machines are sold out.

The Confederation of Trade and Services of Portugal and the Tax Workers Trade Union have already confirmed that the machines required to update checkout invoicing are sold out.

The main goal of the new system is to fight tax evasion and must be put into effect by establishment owners making sales over €100,000 a year.

Business owners are now calling on the Ministry of Finance to be tolerant to the fact that the machines have sold out and that some establishments may not have the system in place this month.

They hope a “fines crusade” against noncomplying establishments does not happen as “they are not responsible for the situation”.