BIR Official Receipts and Sales Invoices in the Philippines

By: Tax and Accounting Center Philippines

As a rule under Section 237 of the Tax Code, as amended, taxpayers engaged in trade or business are required to issue official receipts and/or sales invoices for each sale and transfer of goods and services. Hereunder we quote for easy reference:

“SEC. 237.            Issuance of Receipts or Sales or Commercial Invoices. — All persons subject to an internal revenue tax shall, for each sale and transfer of merchandise or for services rendered valued at Twenty-five pesos (P25.00) (Update: One hundred pesos (PhP100.00)) or more, issue duly registered receipts or sale or commercial invoices, prepared at least in duplicate, showing the date of transaction, quantity, unit cost and description of merchandise or nature of service: X x x.

“The original of each receipt or invoice shall be issued to the purchaser, customer or client at the time the transaction is effected, who, if engaged in business or in the exercise of profession, shall keep and preserve the same in his place of business for a period of three (3) years from the close of the taxable year in which such invoice or receipt was issued, while the duplicate shall be kept and preserved by the issuer, also in his place of business, for a like period.

“The Commissioner may, in meritorious cases, exempt any person subject to an internal revenue tax from compliance with the provisions of this Section.”

Based on the above, let us share you some important matters about official receipts and sales invoices in the Philippines a s follows:

1. Principal and Supplementary Receipts and Invoices

For tax purposes, official receipts and commercial invoices are classified into principal and supplementary as follows under Revenue Regulations No. 18-2012 dated October 22, 2012 (RR No. 18-2012):

PRINCIPAL RECEIPTS / INVOICES  – is the written account evidencing the sale of goods and/or services issued to customers in an ordinary course of business which necessary includes the following:

  • VAT sales invoice
  • Non-VAT sales invoice
  • VAT official receipts
  • Non-VAT official receipts

SUPPLEMENTARY RECEIPTS / INVOICES (also known as COMMERCIAL INVOICES) – a written account evidencing that a transaction has been made between the seller and the buyer of goods and/or services, forming part of the books of accounts of a business taxpayer for recording, monitoring and control purposes such as document evidencing delivery, agreement to sell or transfer of goods and services which includes but are not limited to delivery receipts, order slips, debit and/or credit memo, purchase order, job order, provisional/temporary receipt, acknowledgement receipt, collection receipt, cash receipt, bill of lading, billing statement, statement of account, and any other documents, by whatever name it is known or called, whether prepared manually (handwritten information) or pre-printed/pre-numbered loose-leaf (information typed using excel program or typewriter) or computerized as long as it is used in the ordinary course of business being issued to customers or otherwise.

Supplementary receipts/invoices, for purposes of Value-Added Tax, are not valid proof to support the claim of Input Taxes by buyers of goods and/or services.

2. Securing Authority to Print (ATP)

Under RR No. 18-2012, principal and supplementary official receipts and sales invoices are required to be registered with the BIR by securing an approval on the authority to print using BIR Form No. 1906. Certain documentary requirements are required to be attached to the BIR form, and process will take some time with the BIR depending on the completeness of the documentation and volume of BIR applications.

3. Official Receipts and Invoices printed by BIR accredited printers  

Pursuant to Revenue Regulations No. 15-2012 dated December 3, 2012, only BIR accredited printers based on certain criteria are allowed to print BIR receipts and commercial invoices to see to it that unauthorized printers could not print invalid receipts and invoices. BIR offices publish a list of accredited printers that taxpayers may simply browse for easy reference.

4. BIR Official receipts and invoices per establishment

For taxpayers with head office and branches, each of such establishment must have its own official receipts and/or invoices. Official receipts and/or invoice of each establishment is designated special codes through the last digit of the tax identification numbers (TIN) – 000 for head office, 001, 002, 003, etc. for branches, sales offices and other establishments.

5. 5-year Validity of Official Receipts and Invoices (UPDATE: RR No. 6-2022 issued last June 30, 2022 removes the five-year validity period on receipts/invoices)

Under RR No. 18-2012, official receipts and commercial invoices based on the new ATPs are only valid for five (5) years. Within sixty (60) days prior to its renewal, a new ATP application should be made. An inventory of unused official receipts and/or invoices and other documentary requirements shall be submitted.

Under Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 52-2013 dated August 13, 2013, existing official receipts and invoices  based on old authority to print shall be valid as follows:

  • Receipts and invoices with ATP dated prior to January 1, 2011 shall be valid up to August 30, 2013; and
  • Receipts and invoices with ATP dated January 1, 2011 to January 17, 2013 may be used until October 31, 2013 provided new ATP was issued on or before August 30, 2013.
Please be guided by the above validity rules at all times and avoid penalties.

6. Contents of Official Receipts and Sales Invoices

Pursuant to Section 4.113-1(B) of Revenue Regulations No. 16-2005 dated September 1, 2005, the following shall be indicated in VAT official receipts or VAT sales invoice:

  1. Statement that a seller is VAT-registered followed by TIN;
  2. For sales of P1,000 or more to a VAT-registered person, the name, business style, if any, address, and TIN of the buyer.
  3. Total amount which the purchaser pays or is obligated to pay to the seller with the indication that such includes VAT;
  • The amount of VAT shall be shown as a separate item in the receipt or invoice;
  • If the sale is exempt from VAT, the term “VAT-exempt sale” shall be written or printed prominently on the invoice or receipt;
  • If the sale is subject to 0% VAT, the term “VAT-zero rate sale” shall be written or printed prominently on the invoice or receipt;
  • If the sale involves goods, properties, or service some of which are subject to VAT and some zero-rated or VAT-exempt, a breakdown of such sales shall clearly be indicated, unless the seller each type of receipt or invoice for the corresponding VATable, zero-rated, and VAT-exempt sale.

Under Revenue Regulations No. 18-2011 dated September 21, 2011, a seller who fails to segregate VAT amount on the VAT official receipt sales invoice  is subject to a penalty of P1,000.00 for each receipt or sales invoice but not to exceed P50,000.00.


Official receipts and commercial invoices are business matters that management shall likewise give attention. They must register principal and supplementary receipts and commercial invoices of each establishment, require its representatives to indicate required information, and timely renew the same prior to the expiry of the authority to print. Failure to strictly follow these simple rules could end up unnecessary penalties.

Disclaimer: This article is for general conceptual guidance only and is not a substitute for an expert opinion. Please consult your preferred tax and/or legal consultant for the specific details applicable to your circumstances. For comments, you may please send mail at info@taxacctgcenter.orgor you may post a question at Tax and Accounting Center Forum and participate therein.

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