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The government is discussing relaxing the requirements for taxation-related documents, such as receipts and bills, that are converted into data, as part of planned fiscal 2021 tax system reforms, it has been learned.

The government may also allow paper documents to be discarded immediately after they are converted into data, informed sources said. Currently, original paper documents need to be stored for a certain period.

The proposed measures are aimed at facilitating the digitization of expense accounting procedures and making related jobs more suitable for teleworking. A reduction in the amount of office space needed to store paper documents will be another benefit of the proposal.

The industry ministry plans to include issues related to the digitization of tax payment procedures in its tax system reform requests for fiscal 2021, which starts in April next year, along with the abolition of a rule requiring seals to be affixed to taxation-related documents.

The government and ruling camp will hold full-scale discussions on the requests during their work on tax system reform late this year.

There is already a system that exempts companies from the need to keep paper documents if they save images of receipts and other documents by taking photos of them with a smartphone.

But companies still keep paper documents for a certain amount of time due to internal periodic checks.

Issues expected to be discussed for the coming tax system reforms include how to link digital itemized payment and receipt records issued by banks and credit card companies, which are said to be difficult to fabricate, to images of receipts.

If such links can be realized, it will be possible to scrap paper documents immediately after they are converted into data.

The government is also considering simplified rules for digitizing paper documents, including easing a rule requiring paper documents to be converted into data within roughly three days of their arrival.