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Finance Ministry moves to encourage e-invoicing


The Ministry of Finance has published for consultation a draft ordinance that should greatly facilitate the take-up of electronic invoicing solutions in Poland, raising the prospect of substantial savings for business. Under the document, companies would no longer be required to use a specified format for the transmission of electronic invoices and would have more freedom in adopting preferred storage arrangements, although they would still be expected to ensure their authenticity and possibility of retrieval for inspection. And they would continue to need to obtain the consent of each customer for receiving electronic invoices instead of paper ones.

A July poll by Itella, a Finish provider of information flow solutions, showed that Poland lags far behind many European countries in terms of the use of electronic invoicing by its businesses. Just 11% of Polish firms said they used e-invoices, compared to 89% in the United Kingdom, but also considerably less than in Lithuania (29%), Hungary (25%), Romania (24%), or the Czech Republic (22%). Only 18% of companies in Poland said they received e-invoices, compared with 93% in the UK.

According to estimates, Polish businesses spend PLN 180-200m (approx. €45-50m) a year on the cost of sending invoices by post. The main barriers to more widespread adoption of electronic invoicing in the country are cumbersome procedures, such as the requirement to obtain a paper-based consent from a customer; lack of consciousness-raising workshops for small firms; and the prohibitively high cost of obtaining a secure electronic signature.

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