In a recent provision dated march 22nd 2018 the french tax authority has define the conditions required for scanning and eArchiving of paper invoices

Companies receiving or issuing paper invoices can scan their invoices and keep them in electronic for six years…. the conversion of invoices originally paper to electronic must be done under conditions ensuring identical reproduction. The result of this digitization must be an exact copy of the original reproducing image and content

The digitization process comes also with the obligation of securing invoices with a reliable audit trail (as defined in the VAT directive) that is to say that eArchiving of the original paper document must be recorded and documented and is subject to internal controls, to ensure the availability, readability and integrity of the digitized invoices kept for the period of retention. Documented means also, that the different phases of the digitization are described and explained. It's up to every company to do regular checks, under their own responsibility.

The original invoice remains a faithful and durable copy for the VAT deductibility. But in case of audit the administration may consider that the scanning has not been done properly, hence, requiring the original paper version. Therefore, be careful before permanently deleting the paper originals.

Finally, the BOFIP considers that an electronic copy which allows to archive the image of the invoice (pdf image) will not be allowed (from July 1st, 2018) and is replaced by the scanning of the original invoice by the issuer. Companies that do not wish to keep a copy of their paper invoices in a physical storage may potentially face the risk that the tax authority may request a hard copy of the original.

Reference :

  • LPF article A102B (fiscal audit book) and BOFIP article 100 and following (fiscal law)