Nguyen Van Hung from District 7 in Ho Chi Minh City bought a water purifier online from the Dien May Xanh supermarket website. When he came to install the machine, the supermarket employee added Hung’s phone number to the customer service system and said that Hung only needs to mention this number for warranty purposes. However, since he wanted to replace the purifier cores, Hung couldn’t use that phone number at the Dien May Xanh store as he was instructed before. The supermarket asked for his commercial invoice, which had been discarded as a useless item. Hung had no other way but to pay money for another service to complete this task.
A similar story happened to NBH in HCMC District 3. She bought a refrigerator online from the Nguyen Kim Electronics Supermarket website. When she needed warranty service, she discovered that her purchase information had not been registered on the supermarket system. As she was told that she only had to mention her telephone number for warranty purposes, she threw away her commercial invoice and can no longer use such a document to prove her purchase.
Another case is that of Pham Kim Ngan from HCMC District 7. She bought a tray of eggs from a nearby supermarket and later discovered the eggs were spoiled. However, because she had thrown away her commercial invoice, the supermarket refused to replace the spoiled products. Learning from her mistake, she now has a specific cabinet drawer to store banknotes in case she needs them in the future.
According to Section 90 of the Revenue Administration Act 2019, when selling goods or providing services, sellers must issue an electronic invoice to buyers. In reality, only companies keep these invoices to record costs, while individuals usually throw them away. Online shoppers also hardly pay attention to requesting such an electronic invoice.
Statistics from Vietnam’s Electronic Commerce and Digital Economy Agency (under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce) reveal that in 2020, 53% of the national population made online purchases, which which resulted in an 18% increase in the national e-commerce market. contributing US$11.8 billion (5.5%) to total retail sales and consumer services revenue. A year later, Vietnam has more than 8 million new internet users participating in e-commerce, bringing the total number of e-commerce participants to 57.3 million (82% of all internet users). Yet few pay attention to e-invoices when transacting online.
To encourage individuals to request and store their e-invoices for each online purchase, the Direction Générale des Impôts has just launched a “Lucky Invoice” draw program for all the e-invoices stored by buyers, whether they are businesses or individuals. It is expected that HCMC will draw the lucky numbers on October 15, 2022 to identify the winners among these buyers.
Therefore, when purchasing goods, consumers must request an electronic invoice with the code assigned by the tax authority (a string of 34 random digits) or with a code created from the approved payment calculator (a 23 character string). The invoice must also include the buyers’ personal information such as tax code or ID/passport number (excluding cancelled, adjusted, superseded invoices or invoices where buyers and sellers have the same code tax). Eligible bills have a chance to win up to 50 million VND ($2,125).
The “Lucky Invoice” program is launched nationwide. At HCMC, the HCMC Tax Department will randomly select these lucky invoices as program winners from the invoices registered in this department’s centralized electronic invoicing system. There will be an oversight board to ensure the transparency, publicity of this drawing process.