As of December 31, 2024, Portugal will be implementing a new regulation that mandates the use of qualified electronic signatures for PDF invoices. This decision was made by the Assembly of the Republic, specifically through Article 182.º-A. The validity of PDF invoices has been extended until the end of 2024, allowing businesses and taxpayers to adjust to the upcoming changes. However, starting from January 1, 2025, the authenticity and integrity of PDF invoices will be strictly enforced, in accordance with Article 12 of Decree Law No. 28/2019. This means that taxpayers will be required to utilize a qualified electronic signature, a qualified electronic seal, or an electronic data interchange (EDI) system to ensure compliance with the new regulations.
The introduction of this new requirement aims to enhance the security and reliability of PDF invoices in Portugal. By implementing qualified electronic signatures, the government aims to prevent fraud and ensure the accuracy and integrity of financial documents. This move aligns with the broader global trend towards digitalization and the adoption of electronic invoicing.
Qualified electronic signatures are a form of digital signature that ensures the authenticity and integrity of electronic documents. They provide a higher level of security compared to traditional handwritten signatures or simple electronic signatures. Qualified electronic signatures are created using a cryptographic process that uniquely links the signature to the signatory and the document being signed. This process guarantees that any alterations or tampering with the document will be detected.
The use of qualified electronic signatures for PDF invoices will bring several benefits to businesses and taxpayers in Portugal. Firstly, it will streamline and simplify the invoicing process, reducing administrative burdens and costs associated with paper-based invoicing. Electronic invoicing eliminates the need for physical storage and manual handling of invoices, making it more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Furthermore, qualified electronic signatures will provide legal certainty and evidentiary value to PDF invoices. They will serve as proof of the authenticity and integrity of the document, making it easier for businesses to resolve any disputes or legal issues that may arise. Additionally, the use of electronic signatures will facilitate faster invoice processing and payment, improving cash flow for businesses.
To comply with the new regulations, taxpayers will need to obtain a qualified electronic signature, a qualified electronic seal, or an electronic data interchange (EDI) system. These solutions can be obtained from certified providers who meet the technical and security requirements set by the Portuguese government. Businesses should start preparing for this transition well in advance to ensure a smooth and seamless implementation.
The Portuguese government has been actively promoting the adoption of electronic invoicing in recent years. The use of electronic invoicing not only improves efficiency and reduces costs but also helps combat tax evasion and fraud. By implementing qualified electronic signatures for PDF invoices, Portugal is taking another step towards the digitalization of its economy and the modernization of its tax administration.
In conclusion, the mandatory use of qualified electronic signatures for PDF invoices in Portugal, starting from January 1, 2025, will bring significant changes to the invoicing process. Businesses and taxpayers will need to adapt to these new regulations by obtaining qualified electronic signatures, seals, or EDI systems. This move aims to enhance security, streamline processes, and improve the overall efficiency of invoicing in Portugal. It is crucial for businesses to start preparing for this transition to ensure compliance and a smooth implementation.