What is ZATCA in KSA?

What ZATCA means for businesses in Saudi Arabia and understanding the e-invoicing guide for KSA along with its regulations.

Reviewed by:
Faye Ameen
Update:
July 9, 2024
0 min read time
Ramsha Jameel
Creative Copywriter

In a bold move towards digital transformation and enhanced transparency, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) introduced a groundbreaking initiative known as ZATCA ‚Äď Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, formerly the General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT). ZATCA has made it mandatory for resident taxpayers to transition to electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) as a significant step towards modernizing the economy and promoting efficiency.¬†

The e-invoicing initiative began in two phases, with the first phase having been implemented in 2021 and the second on January 1, 2023.

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What is ZATCA?

ZATCA, or the Saudi Electronic Invoicing System, is an acronym representing the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority. This pivotal initiative marks a shift towards the digitalization of the economy, aiming to revolutionize the way businesses handle invoicing and promote transparency. 

In this article, we will delve into the world of ZATCA, exploring what it means for businesses in Saudi Arabia, how they can prepare for this e-invoicing mandate, and understanding the e-invoicing guide for KSA along with its regulations.

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Preparing for the ZATCA E-Invoicing Mandate

The ZATCA e-invoicing mandate, enforceable from January 1, 2023, represents a crucial integration phase concerning the transmission of electronic invoices and notes. The implementation will roll out in waves, targeted at specific taxpayer groups. 

To comply with the e-invoicing regulation, businesses subject to it must:

  • Modify their accounting and invoicing software to support the issuance of e-invoices in ZATCA-compliant XML format.
  • Configure their software to send e-invoices to a ZATCA-designated service provider.
  • Save issued e-invoices in the ZATCA-designated XML format.

Understanding E-Invoicing in KSA

E-invoicing in Saudi Arabia involves the adoption of new e-invoicing procedures in two phases. It is a process where businesses can send, receive, and store invoices electronically. This shift offers numerous advantages, such as being environmentally friendly, efficient, secure, and compliance-friendly. 

The primary distinction is that e-invoices are not editable like paper invoices, but electronic notes can be sent for adjustments.

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Types of E-Invoicing in KSA

E-invoicing in KSA is divided into two main types:

1. Tax E-Invoice (Standard E-Invoice): 

These are issued for B2G (Business to Government) and B2B (Business to Business) transactions, represented as XML files with all the necessary data fields required by ZATCA.

2. Simplified E-Invoices: 

These are designed for small businesses with a streamlined structure and low transaction volume. In these cases, the buyer doesn't need to use the invoice for input VAT deduction.

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Why Introduce E-Invoicing in Saudi Arabia?

The Saudi government has been actively pushing for initiatives to digitize the economy and promote e-invoicing. 

This move is expected to bring several benefits, including:

  • Reducing the administrative burden on businesses.
  • Improving compliance with tax regulations.
  • Enhancing transparency.
  • Facilitating government oversight of companies and their activities.

ZATCA E-Invoicing Regulations

The Saudi government has established specific e-invoicing regulations that all resident taxpayers must adhere to. 

Here's what you can expect from the ZATCA e-invoicing process:

  • All taxable products and services subject to VAT will be subject to the e-invoicing provisions, regardless of their tax rate.
  • All VAT-registered business owners in Saudi Arabia (except for non-resident taxable individuals) conducting sales within and outside the country are required to use the e-invoicing system.
  • Third parties in Saudi Arabia issuing tax invoices on behalf of taxable individuals must use the e-invoicing process. This also applies to accounting firms issuing invoices on behalf of vendors.
  • E-invoicing is mandatory for all B2B, B2G, and B2C transactions. When sending an e-invoice to a customer, a printed copy must also be provided.
  • Invoices must be issued in Arabic, and while translations or additional languages are permitted, the primary e-invoice must be in Arabic.
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The Two Phases of E-Invoicing Regulations in KSA

ZATCA has embraced two electronic invoicing regulations, mandating businesses to adopt new e-invoicing procedures in two phases.

Phase 1 (December 4, 2021)

The first phase was introduced on December 4, 2021, and brought several requirements for businesses:

  • E-invoices must be stored in an electronic database, an online cash register, or a cloud-based e-invoicing solution.
  • E-invoices must be signed with an e-signature.
  • All elements and mandatory fields must be included when issuing an invoice, including the VAT registration number, taxpayer's name, and recipient's name.

Phase 2 (January 1, 2023)

The second phase, introduced on January 1, 2023, introduced more stringent requirements:

  • All invoices must be issued in the XML format required by ZATCA.
  • Invoices must be sent to the recipient via the ZATCA-designated service provider.
  • E-invoices must be stored in the ZATCA-designated XML format.
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What are the Benefits of E-Invoicing for KSA Businesses?

The introduction of e-invoicing in KSA promises several advantages for businesses including:

Cost-Efficiency: 

E-invoicing reduces the costs associated with printing, storing, and distributing paper invoices.

Time-Saving: 

The process is quicker and more efficient than traditional paper-based invoicing.

Error Reduction: 

E-invoicing minimizes errors often associated with manual data entry.

Improved Security: 

Electronic invoices are more secure than paper invoices and are less susceptible to loss or damage.

Enhanced Transparency: 

E-invoicing promotes transparency and accountability.

Better Tax Compliance: 

Businesses can better comply with tax regulations and facilitate tax audits.

Environmental Benefits: 

E-invoicing is eco-friendly as it reduces the need for paper and printing.

ZATCA: Challenges and Concerns

While e-invoicing brings numerous advantages, businesses may face certain challenges in implementing and complying with the ZATCA regulations. 

These challenges may include:

  • Initial costs associated with software and infrastructure upgrades.
  • Training employees to use the new e-invoicing systems.
  • Ensuring data security and privacy.
  • Adhering to evolving e-invoicing standards and regulations.
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ZATCA and the e-invoicing regulations in Saudi Arabia represent a significant step towards the digital transformation of the country's economy. This initiative aims to modernize business practices, improve transparency, and facilitate tax compliance.

Businesses operating in Saudi Arabia should be well-prepared to adapt to the e-invoicing requirements outlined by ZATCA to ensure compliance with the changing landscape of financial transactions in the kingdom.

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