The German Bonpflicht, which means stopping the unlawful practice of not printing receipts, has been issued in order to curb under-the-counter trading as much as possible. That way, it is more difficult for retailers, restaurateurs, and other professional groups to illegally avoid paying taxes by not issuing receipts.
In Italy, Austria, France, Albania, and Romania, a similar law to print receipts is already in place. And the new regulations are starting to work there. According to the tax union and the Federal Audit Office, Germany loses at least ten billion Euros per year in taxes due to this unlawful practice.
However, the receipt regulation is an additional burden on the environment, and it also leads to more bureaucracy. These are two important aspects that come with the new Bonpflicht.
Thanks to the QR Code, which was invented in 1994 by Masahiro Hara for DENSO WAVE, digital solutions are more than possible.
QR Code as a smart and environmentally friendly Alternative to Receipts
The problem with receipts is the thermal paper that they are printed on. This type of paper is bad for the environment. The Cologne-based EHI Retail Institute, a research and educational institute for the retail sector, reports 5.7 million kilograms of additional thermal paper will be needed because of the new receipt law.
This is where the QR Code comes in as a sustainable alternative. For instance, a bakery in Lower Saxony has been using the QR Code instead of printing receipts. The outcome is that the bakery is more than satisfied with the QR Code. In fact, they save at least 1.500 register rolls per month as a direct result of this implementation of the QR Code.
The bakery still complies with the new tax laws, since customers who ask for a receipt can scan the respective QR Code with a smartphone at the counter. Thus, the obligation to issue a receipt is fulfilled.
In general, the law on printing receipts stipulates that customers can also receive their receipt via NFC, customer account or email. However, not all of these solutions are desirable as they can cause problems. Furthermore, they can also result in an unmanageable workload.
QR Codes on the other hand are fast, uncomplicated, and sustainable. In addition, customers who do not want a receipt for small amounts of purchases, for example at bakeries, are not bothered with the Bonpflicht.
The bakery chain from Lower Saxony working with QR Codes instead of printed receipts speaks of a positive feedback from their customers because of the environmental aspect.
Almost three months after the introduction of the Bonpflicht, the legal requirement is still criticized. A minimum limit is being discussed, meaning, a receipt would only have to be issued when a certain purchase value is reached. France could serve as an example. A law has been enforced there: Starting in 2022, receipts will only be issued for purchases of items over 30 Euros.
In the meantime, the QR Code, invented by DENSO WAVE, part of the Toyota group, is the best digital alternative in order to comply with the Bonpflicht.