E-invoicing in singapore 2024 Regulatory Updates

Explore the e-invoicing system in Singapore, recommended by IMDA for B2B and B2G. Learn about InvoiceNow's role in tax compliance and operational efficiency.

Ajith Kumar M
January 8, 2024
11 min

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Navigating the Future of E-Invoicing in Singapore

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital commerce, Singapore is setting a remarkable precedent with its commitment to e-invoicing. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has been at the forefront of this transformative journey, and they have ambitious plans on the horizon. The transition from the current Peppol BIS specifications to the new PINT SG (PEPPOL INTERNATIONAL INVOICE SINGAPORE) specifications promises to redefine e-invoicing standards in Singapore. Let's delve into the key milestones and implications of this transition.

Evolution of the E-Invoicing Network

The journey towards nationwide E-Invoicing in Singapore has seen several key milestones:

  • First Peppol Authority: IMDA became the first Peppol Authority outside of Europe in May 2018.
  • Network Launch: The nationwide E-invoicing network was inaugurated in January 2019, with 11 Access Point providers ready to serve the market.
  • Peppol Ready Accreditation: In 2019, the Peppol Ready solution accreditation was established, with more than 50 Peppol-Solution providers successfully connecting to the network by January 2020.
  • Government Adoption: The Singapore government introduced a new channel for suppliers to submit e-invoices via the nationwide E-invoicing network in January 2020, becoming the preferred channel for suppliers.
  • E-Invoicing Registration Grant: To incentivize businesses, the E-Invoicing Registration Grant was announced in March 2020, encouraging participation before December 31, 2020.
  • InvoiceNow: The nationwide E-invoicing network was rebranded as InvoiceNow in September 2020.
The Role of IMDA in E-Invoicing

IMDA's nationwide E-invoicing network operates within the established Peppol framework, facilitating electronic business document exchanges. As the Peppol Authority in Singapore, IMDA plays a pivotal role:

  • Approving and Certifying Providers: IMDA approves and certifies Peppol Access Point providers and accredits Peppol-ready Solution Providers in Singapore.
  • Specification Oversight: It specifies country-specific rules and technical standards under the Peppol framework in Singapore, including the SG Peppol BIS specifications.
  • Framework Governance: IMDA ensures compliance with the Peppol framework in Singapore, promoting its adoption.
Nationwide E-Invoicing Initiative by IMDA

IMDA introduced the nationwide E-invoicing network in 2019, aimed at enhancing business efficiency, reducing costs, facilitating faster digital payments, and promoting sustainability. As one of the leading e-invoicing solution providers, this network extends the International Peppol E-Delivery Network, enabling seamless international transactions.

The Power of SMP in Singapore

IMDA adopts a centralised Service Metadata Publisher (SMP) model in Singapore, with SGNIC serving as the SMP provider. This SMP serves as an essential address book for businesses registered to receive e-invoices, enhancing accessibility and efficiency.

Peppol Framework: A Game-Changer

Traditionally, companies in Singapore issued invoices in human-readable formats via paper or email, leading to time-consuming and error-prone manual processes. The Peppol framework changed the game, enabling direct transmission of e-invoices from one finance system to another without human intervention. This speeds up invoice processing, reduces errors, and accelerates digital payments.

The common XML format used in the Peppol network, known as the BIS (Business Interoperability Specifications) Billing 3.0 UBL, allows users to choose their preferred accounting and ERP platforms while ensuring seamless communication with partners using different systems.

The Peppol network operates on a 4-corner model, where sellers, access points, the global directory, and buyers work in harmony to streamline the invoicing process. This model allows businesses to use the accounting/ERP solution of their choice, fostering flexibility and efficiency.

From Peppol to InvoiceNow: A Unified Experience

In September 2020, a significant transition took place in Singapore's e-invoicing landscape. The local name for Peppol was officially changed to InvoiceNow, a change that aligns seamlessly with Singapore's popular payment method, Corporate PayNow.

Both systems, InvoiceNow and Corporate PayNow, require a Singaporean business's UEN (Unique Entity Number), offering a unified experience that simplifies and streamlines transactions for users.

This transition marks a pivotal moment in Singapore's journey towards digital transformation, with InvoiceNow serving as the conduit for more efficient, secure, and cost-effective e-invoicing.

The Road to PINT SG: A Phased Approach

The IMDA's migration to PINT SG (PEPPOL INTERNATIONAL INVOICE SINGAPORE) specifications is set to unfold in three distinct phases:

Uplift Phase (1 March 2024 to 31 December 2024)
  • C2/C3 Readiness: By 30 September 2024, C2 and C3 entities must be prepared to send and receive PINT SG with wildcard capabilities.
  • PRSP Compliance: All Peppol Authority Specific Requirements (PRSPs) will need to support PINT SG and PINT (C1/C4) by 3 December 2024.
  • Mandatory Registration: During this period, registration of SG BIS 3.0 receiving capability remains mandatory.
  • Business Adoption: All businesses operating in Singapore must be geared up to support PINT-SG and PINT receiving capabilities by 31 December 2024.
  • SG BIS 3.0 Standard: C1 entities are expected to use SG BIS 3.0, unless otherwise pre-agreed between the sending and receiving parties.
Switch Over Phase (1 January 2025 to 31 March 2025)
  • Registration Changes: Registration for SG BIS 3.0 will be removed from the SGNIC-SMP, while registration of PINT-SG receiving capability becomes mandatory.
Phase Out (1 April 25 to 30 May 2025)
  • End of SG BIS 3.0: All SG BIS 3.0 participant receiving capabilities will be removed from the SGNIC-SMP.
  • Transitioning Systems: C1/C4 and PRSPs are encouraged to remove systems' handling of SG BIS 3.0.

It's crucial to note that Peppol PINT isn't just a specification; it represents a new approach to designing specifications. The core idea is to enhance interoperability between related specifications while accommodating the unique requirements of jurisdictions or industries.

Key Milestones for PINT Adoption

The roadmap to PINT (PEPPOL INTERNATIONAL INVOICE) adoption involves several key milestones, including:

  1. Technical Specifications Approval: The technical specifications and policies of PINT and Wildcard were formally approved as of July 1st, 2023, allowing their use in production on the Peppol Network.
  2. Migration Process: PINT and Wildcard became optional as of July 1st, 2023, across all jurisdictions. The decision to make them mandatory will be at the discretion of Peppol Authorities in their respective jurisdictions.
  3. Cross-Regional Coordination Board: There's consideration for establishing a Cross-regional Coordination Board to manage the transition to PINT effectively.
  4. Stakeholder Engagement: Extensive consultation is encouraged to ensure a consensus-supported transition into PINT.
  5. Support for Transition: The Operating Office is committed to supporting Peppol Authorities and Service Providers throughout this process.

Singapore's journey towards e-invoicing excellence is a testament to its commitment to digital transformation. With the transition to PINT SG specifications and the ongoing evolution of the InvoiceNow platform, businesses in Singapore are poised for a future of increased efficiency, reduced costs, and faster payment cycles. As Singapore paves the way, the global adoption of Peppol continues to gain momentum, and the benefits are set to be significant for businesses, the workforce, and the public.