What is the Qualified Invoice System in Japan?

As Japan continues to evolve its tax landscape, the Qualified Invoice System, introduced in 2023, stands as a pivotal change in the country’s taxation approach. This article aims to demystify what the Qualified Invoice System is and its significance for businesses, particularly for foreign companies operating in Japan. For a detailed historical context of Japan’s Consumption Tax regime leading up to this system, please refer to our previous article here.

The Qualified Invoice System Explained

The Qualified Invoice System represents a modernized approach to handling Consumption Tax (JCT) in Japan. A ‘qualified invoice’ under this system is a document that meets specific criteria set by the Japanese tax authorities. These criteria include details like the supplier’s name and registration number, the date of the transaction, a description of the goods or services, and the applicable JCT rate. The aim is to ensure greater transparency and accuracy in the calculation and reporting of JCT.

Compliance Requirements for Businesses

Compliance with the Qualified Invoice System involves several key steps. Businesses must register with the National Tax Agency to become registered invoice issuers. This registration is crucial as only invoices from registered issuers are considered ‘qualified’ for tax purposes. Moreover, businesses must maintain meticulous records of these invoices, which are vital for claiming input tax credits.

Impact on Foreign Businesses

For foreign businesses, adapting to this system requires a careful review of their existing tax and accounting processes. Since the system demands specific invoice formats and detailed record-keeping, foreign entities may need to update their software systems or seek local expertise to ensure compliance. Understanding these requirements is crucial to avoid tax-related complications and to streamline business operations in Japan.

Benefits of the Qualified Invoice System

Despite the initial adjustment phase, it brings several benefits. It increases the accuracy of tax reporting and reduces the scope for errors and fraud. Additionally, it streamlines the audit process, making it more efficient for both businesses and tax authorities. These benefits contribute to a more transparent and reliable business environment in Japan.


The introduction of the Qualified Invoice System is a significant step in Japan’s ongoing tax reforms. While it presents initial challenges, particularly for foreign businesses, its long-term benefits in terms of transparency and efficiency are undeniable. Understanding and adapting to these changes is crucial for any business seeking to thrive in Japan’s complex tax environment.

Additional Resources For those seeking more information on adapting to the Qualified Invoice System or for detailed guidance on compliance, contact our expert team at [email protected]. Further, revisit the evolution of Japan’s tax system in our detailed historical overview here.

Of course, the original and authoritative source for all taxation matters is the National Tax Agency.