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Understanding Korean VAT: Electronic vs. Paper Tax Invoices

Understanding Korean VAT: Electronic vs. Paper Tax Invoices

If you're an expat business owner in Korea, navigating the tax landscape can be as challenging as climbing a steep mountain. One crucial aspect of your tax obligations is Value Added Tax (VAT, 10%), and the deadline for filing and paying your company's VAT for the 3rd quarter of the fiscal year is approaching fast - Oct. 25th. To help you grasp this, we'll dive into the world of tax invoices and unravel the mystery of Electronic vs. Paper Tax Invoices.

Electronic Tax Invoices: The Digital Revolution

In 2011, Korea introduced the Electronic Tax Invoice system for corporations, followed by sole proprietors in 2012. Since July 2014, it became mandatory for all sole proprietors with annual sales exceeding 300 million won, and now it's essential if your sales exceed 100 million won. But what exactly are Electronic Tax Invoices?

What Are Electronic Tax Invoices?

Electronic Tax Invoices are digital counterparts of traditional paper invoices. They're issued electronically and stored digitally, making them more efficient and environmentally friendly. Embracing this system is crucial to comply with Korean tax regulations.

Issuing Electronic Tax Invoices

To issue Electronic Tax Invoices, you'll need a digital certificate, your golden ticket to the online world of taxation. This certificate replaces physical ID proof and is essential for expats, yes, it notorious one especially when dealing with non-Windows operating systems.

The Role of Digital Certificates

Obtaining a digital certificate isn't as daunting as it may sound. If you already have one for internet banking, getting another for tax invoices can be a breeze. Your accountant can also assist in this process, making it smoother for you.

Paper Tax Invoices: A Simpler Alternative

While Electronic Tax Invoices are the norm for larger businesses, smaller businesses(sole-proprietor only) often rely on Paper Tax Invoices.

What Are Paper Tax Invoices?

Paper Tax Invoices are the traditional, tangible invoices we're all familiar with. Smaller sole proprietors often use them, as they may not meet the sales threshold requiring electronic invoices. They're easy to generate and maintain, making them a suitable choice for some businesses, if the sales revenue is less than 100mil.won.

Issuing Tax Invoices

Always remember this golden rule: issue your tax invoices by the 10th day of the following month for the previous month's transactions. For instance, September's invoices should be issued by October 10th to dodge any penalties.

Get the Assistance You Need

Navigating Korea's complex digital certificate program can feel like trying to decode a secret language. If you're struggling with tax invoices or need help with the digital certificate process, don't hesitate to reach out to us at We're here to guide you through the labyrinth of tax obligations.

FAQs: Your Burning Questions Answered

1. What is the deadline for filing and paying my company's VAT in Korea?

The deadline for filing and paying your company's VAT for the 3rd quarter of the 2023 fiscal year is the 25th of Oct.

2. What is the difference between electronic and paper tax invoices?

Electronic tax invoices are issued electronically and are mandatory for corporations and sole proprietors with annual sales exceeding a 100mil.won threshold. Paper tax invoices are typically used by smaller sole proprietors.

3. What is a digital certificate and why do I need it? A digital certificate is an online identity verification tool used by the Korean government. It's needed for issuing VAT invoices electronically.

4. When should I issue my tax invoices?

Tax invoices should be issued by the 10th day of the following month for the previous month's transactions to avoid penalties.

5. Can I get help with issuing tax invoices and navigating the digital certificate program?

Yes, you can contact us at for assistance.

Understanding your tax obligations, especially regarding VAT, is pivotal as an expat business owner in Korea. Whether you're going digital with Electronic Tax Invoices or sticking to the tried-and-true Paper Tax Invoices, staying compliant will keep your business on solid ground. Don't let the tax maze overwhelm you – we're here to guide you every step of the way.



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