Do I Need a Qualified Invoice Number?

For Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Japan, especially foreign-owned businesses, navigating the complexities of the Qualified Invoice System is crucial for compliance with tax laws. To that end, this article aims to clarify who needs to adhere to this system. For a detailed understanding, consult an expert and visit Japan’s National Tax Agency for authoritative information.

Disclaimer: This article offers a basic overview and is not exhaustive. Tax laws are complex, and your specific circumstances should be reviewed by a tax professional.

Understanding the Qualified Invoice System

In Japan, the Qualified Invoice System is an essential part of the consumption tax framework. Accordingly, it demands accurate invoicing and record-keeping practices, particularly impacting SMEs. Let’s delve into who is obligated to follow this system.

Basic Rules for Compliance

Businesses need to assess whether they fall under the scope of the Qualified Invoice System using these basic criteria:

  1. Taxable Sales During the ‘Base Period’: If your business had taxable sales exceeding JPY 10 million in the ‘base period’ (two years prior to the current year), you’re considered a taxable entity.
  2. Combined Taxable Sales and Compensation: If both your taxable sales and total compensation exceed JPY 10 million in the first six months of the previous year, you must comply.
  3. Corporations Without a ‘Base Period’: New corporations with share capital of JPY 10 million or more are subject to this system.
  4. Controlling Shareholder’s Taxable Sales: If the controlling shareholder’s taxable sales exceed JPY 500 million, your corporation must comply.
  5. Voluntary Opt-In: Some businesses submit a ‘Report on the selection of taxable proprietor status for consumption tax’ to possibly receive a tax refund.

Hypothetical Scenarios

  • Example 1: An SME with JPY 12 million in taxable sales during the base period must comply with the system.
  • Example 2: A new corporation with share capital below JPY 10 million, but whose controlling shareholder’s sales exceed JPY 500 million, is also subject to this system.

Choosing to Be Taxable

Some businesses might opt into being taxable entities through a report submission. This decision is often influenced by the potential for a consumption tax refund, especially if taxable purchases exceed taxable sales.


Determining whether you must follow the Qualified Invoice System is a critical step in ensuring compliance with Japan’s tax regulations. The intricacies of tax laws demand careful consideration and often professional guidance.

For businesses looking to streamline their compliance process, Paradigm offers a comprehensive solution. Learn more about our services and how we can assist you in navigating these tax requirements at Paradigm Pricing.