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5 min read

What is a Chinese Fapiao and why is it vital for businesses operating in China?

What does “fapiao” mean

A Fapiao in China is an official invoice issued by the tax authorities. It serves as proof of purchase for goods and services and is crucial for business transactions. Fapiaos are used for tax compliance, expense reimbursement, and verifying a transaction’s legitimacy.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese Fapiao is an important part of China’s tax law, facilitating transparency in the receipt process and preventing tax evasion.

  • Businesses can use General VAT Fapiao or Special VAT Fapiao for various benefits such as cost savings and comprehensive transaction information.

  • Foreign investors must be familiar with the rules and regulations to ensure compliance with Chinese companies.

Imagine doing business in China and facing unexpected complications due to a lack of understanding of the local tax system. This scenario is not uncommon for foreign companies operating in China, as the Fapiao system – a unique aspect of Chinese tax law – often bewilders foreign investors.

This blog post will unravel the Fapiao system and its importance for foreign businesses operating in China. It will guide you through the critical aspects of Fapiao management, types, and practical tips for navigating this integral part of China’s tax system.

What is a Fapiao in China?

Serving as a legal receipt and tax invoice, the Fapiao system is an integral part of China’s tax law. It tracks transactions and ensures tax compliance by companies operating in China, making the tax receipt process more transparent.

Individuals rely on Fapiao to reclaim business expenses, while companies use it for transaction documentation.

A Chinese Fapiao
A Chinese Fapiao

The Role of Fapiao in China’s Tax Law

As a government-issued receipt, Fapiao fulfills taxation requirements and serves as proof of purchase for relevant entities. Businesses are obligated to provide Fapiao upon customer request, while customers are responsible for obtaining Fapiao from service providers, as they are not always automatically offered.

By requiring businesses to issue Fapiao for taxable transactions, the system prevents tax evasion and allows for effective monitoring and enforcement of tax laws.

Preventing Tax Evasion with Fapiao

Fapiao, pivotal to China’s tax law, records taxable transactions, ensuring businesses pay the appropriate taxes. There are two kinds of Fapiao: General and Special. Both of them are types of Value Added Tax (VAT) Fapiao. The former is issued by businesses to customers to document taxable transactions and confirm the tax paid, while the government issues the latter to businesses to document tax deductions.

Businesses benefit from the E-Fapiao system through enhanced accuracy, expedited processing, and simplified tracking.

Types of Fapiao in China

In China, there are two main types of FapiaoGeneral VAT Fapiao and Special VAT Fapiao. General VAT Fapiao is used as proof of payment for transactions where Special VAT Fapiao doesn’t apply. It is commonly used by enterprises or individuals who can’t issue Special VAT Fapiao.

On the other hand, Special VAT Fapiao is issued to customers by general taxpayers, allowing businesses to claim tax deductions and providing more detailed transaction information.

Different types of Fapio
Automated Reimbursement Process of e-Fapiao
Automated Reimbursement Process of e-Fapiao

General VAT Chinese Fapiao

Entities unable to issue Special VAT Fapiao typically employ General VAT Fapiao as evidence of payment for transactions where the special variant doesn’t apply.

It primarily aims to validate taxpayer credentials using their tax identification code and monitor transactions for tax compliance.

Special VAT Chinese Fapiao

While selling commodities or providing taxable services, general taxpayers must issue Special VAT Fapiao. Regulations must be followed during the process. The eligibility requirements for Special VAT Fapiao are contingent upon the company’s quota approved by the local tax bureau.

Special VAT Fapiao offers the following benefits:

  • Allows businesses to claim tax deductions
  • Provides comprehensive transaction information
  • Cost-efficient
  • Eco-friendly
  • Efficient and precise business practice.

Chinese E-Fapiao System

China’s E-Fapiao (electronic fapiao) system eases issuance, delivery, and preservation for businesses while increasing automation and process optimization.

Managed by the State Taxation Administration (STA), the E-Fapiao system is projected to be fully implemented across China by 2025.

Advantages of E-Fapiao for Businesses

Businesses benefit from electronic fapiao cost-saving, safe storage, easy search capabilities, and real-time integration of transaction, payment, and accounting data.

Compared to paper Fapiao, E-Fapiao offers expedience and convenience. It can be delivered via methods such as email, links, QR codes, and other remote delivery methods.

Compliance Requirements and Challenges

To comply with the E-Fapiao system, businesses must adhere to new requirements, such as:

  • Using electronic accounting vouchers
  • Preserving original digital files
  • Installing special software
  • Upgrading existing systems.

Foreign-invested enterprises may encounter restrictions when installing the software necessary to open and read the OFD format of the special VAT e-Fapiao. Larger organizations usually need to conduct a security assessment prior to approving software installation. This approval process can take several months.

Importance of Chinese Fapiao for Foreign Investors

When dealing with Chinese companies and running businesses in China, foreign investors need to understand the significance of Fapiao. Foreign businesses need a good understanding of the Fapiao system to ensure tax compliance and avoid complications with Chinese tax authorities.

Dealing with Chinese Companies

Typically, Chinese companies do not issue Fapiao for transactions with overseas customers, and foreign suppliers do not receive a Fapiao.

However, the appropriate money remittance process for Chinese companies when they pay foreign suppliers will generate a corresponding official document to substantiate the expense.

Fapiao Management for Foreign Businesses

To ensure compliance and secure future staff work permits, foreign businesses in China should manage their Fapiao and tax planning carefully. This includes familiarizing themselves with the rules and regulations of the Fapiao system and establishing protocols for requesting, managing, and archiving fapiaos.

Practical Tips for Navigating the Fapiao System

Businesses can successfully navigate the Fapiao system within their business scope by following practical tips like obtaining and verifying Fapiao, which are essential for smooth business transactions, and reclaiming business expenses through them.

Understanding the Fapiao system and its regulations enables businesses to manage expenses efficiently and comply with Chinese tax regulations.

Obtaining and Verifying Fapiao

Businesses should ensure they receive valid Fapiao for all transactions and verify their authenticity to avoid potential issues with tax authorities. This includes verifying the details on the Fapiao, such as the company name, tax number, and date of issue, and comparing the Fapiao with the information provided by the supplier or customer.

Reclaiming Business Expenses through Fapiao

Using Fapiao to reclaim business expenses for tax deduction purposes can help companies reduce their overall tax burden and enhance financial management.

Maintaining accurate records of Fapiao transactions and adhering to the procedures for obtaining and verifying them allows businesses to maximize tax deductions and minimize tax liabilities in China.


In conclusion, understanding the Fapiao system is crucial for foreign investors and businesses operating in China. By familiarizing themselves with the types of Fapiao, navigating the E-Fapiao system, and following practical tips for obtaining, verifying, and reclaiming business expenses through Fapiao, foreign companies can ensure compliance with Chinese tax law and avoid potential complications.

The mysteries of China’s Fapiao system may seem daunting at first, but by taking the time to comprehend its intricacies and applying the knowledge shared in this blog post, foreign businesses can successfully navigate this unique aspect of Chinese tax law and thrive in the ever-growing Chinese market.


The main difference between an invoice and a fapiao is that an invoice serves as a list of goods or services with the amount due, while a fapiao serves as proof of the transaction and can only be issued after it has been completed.

Fapiao invoices are legally required for all taxable transactions in China, serving as proof of transaction. Therefore, it is important to understand the usage and importance of Fapiao invoices.

Fapiao is a tax receipt issued by China's tax bureau, and serves as a paper warranty against tax evasion. It is printed, distributed and administered by the government in order to ensure all goods and services are taxed appropriately.

The two main types of Fapiao are General VAT Fapiao and Special VAT Fapiao.

E-Fapiao offers businesses cost-savings, secure storage, easy search capabilities, real-time transaction information, simplified payments, and integrated accounting data - all of which make doing business more efficient.

Travis is a global business development advisor. He has spent the last 14 years supporting business establishment and development in North America, Southeast Asia, and throughout the world. With multiple degrees from the University of Oregon, Travis currently splits his time between the US, and Bali, Indonesia. At RemotePad, Travis writes about remote work, hiring internationally and PEO/EOR business models.