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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Gas stations face closure over electronic invoice mandate

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Gas stations are teetering on the brink of closure if the Government pushes forward with the immediate enforcement of electronic invoicing, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Proposed amendments to Government decrees 95 and 83 outline a roadmap for electronic invoicing and tax agency integration, with urban stations required to comply within one year and remote areas granted a two-year grace period.

Now, around 17,000 fuel retailers find themselves pressed against this timeline, a condition for obtaining or renewing their business certificates. In a report submitted to the prime minister, the Ministry of Industry and Trade highlighted the operational hurdles and potential disruptions in the supply chain that could reverberate through the fuel market.

While major players like the Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) have already embraced electronic invoicing, covering more than 2,700 fuel stations, others such as PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil) and Military Petroleum Company (Mipecorp) are still exploring technical solutions due to the substantial upfront costs and an estimated implementation timeframe ranging from one to three years.

Considering an estimated cost of VND3 million per fuel dispenser for printing equipment, the total compliance expenditure for the 17,000 gasoline retail stations is poised to exceed VND200 billion. Additional costs for synchronized chips and computer connectivity further compound the financial burden.

Preliminary data from 35 provincial departments of industry and trade showed the existence of approximately 10,000 retail fuel stations. Alarmingly, nearly 1,900 of these establishments stand at the precipice of losing their business certification and must reapply within the next year. This implies that, come the first quarter of 2024, around 1,500 retail fuel stations may need to swiftly implement electronic invoicing and establish connections with tax authorities to qualify for recertification.

While the Ministry of Industry and Trade acknowledged the importance of electronic invoicing for fuel businesses, it advocated for a pragmatic approach.

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