WeChat Eyes Blockchain for faster reimbursements of company expenses


Tencent technology giant is experimenting with a new blockchain-based feature on its famous WeChat messaging app, which aims to speed up the reimbursement of expenses for company employees.

According to a post published on Friday, Tencent piloted the application at a local restaurant in Shenzhen, China, where a user paid the bill through his existing WeChat Pay payment service.

By entering the payment details on its blockchain platform to the user's employer, the restaurant and the local tax office in Shenzhen, Tencent the delays normally encountered through the standard manual complaint process are eliminated. As such, the company hopes its system will end up being applied to streamlining and accelerating the expense reimbursement process, while reducing the prevalence of counterfeited revenue.

At present, China uses a rather complex system in which traders issue different payment receipts for individuals and businesses. When staff must be reimbursed for restaurant expenses, for example, they must request a receipt for companies that list the exact number of tax payers of their employer.

To do so, employees must ensure that the trader manually enters the tax payer number on the receipt in each instance. Furthermore, this process is typically followed by further manual activities, such as collecting receipts and filing a complaint before they can be reimbursed.

The first batch of merchants who integrated the test system also includes parking at Shenzhen Bao & An An Stadium, a car repair center and a restaurant owned by Tencent.

By addressing a related issue in another project, Tencent also collaborated with the Shenzhen government to fight tax evasion.

In China, merchants are required to purchase a number of receipts – known as fapiao – from authorities to act as prepaid taxes before any sale. Because they issue receipts through ongoing sales, merchants calculate the difference between the prepaid amount and the actual tax as for revenue as the basis for the next cycle of tax payments. However, counterfeit revenue is common in China as a means of tax evasion.

Tencent said that by placing the issuing process on a traceable blockchain, it would provide the tax authorities with a card-less tax system through which to monitor the circulation of receipts.

Image of WeChat via Shutterstock

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