What is a Fapiao (发票) and Can I Get One From Paying My Tuition Fee in China?

In most countries, you get a receipt or an invoice when you purchase a product or service. It’s the same in China, you get a Fapiao (发票). However, it’s not only a receipt as it serves a greater purpose. So, what is a Fapiao and will you get one from paying tuition fees for Chinese universities?

What is a Fapiao?

A Fapiao is a form of tax receipt in China. Business establishments issue it when you buy goods or services from them. If you’re an expat and you plan to do business in China, a Fapiao is necessary to claim expenses related to your business.

The Fapiao is more than an invoice confirming payments. It is a system that helps the Chinese government track tax payments and prevents tax evasion. It is administrated, printed and distributed by tax authorities in China.

Will universities in China issue a Fapiao when I pay my tuition fee?

Yes, you can! However, it’s a bit different. What you will receive is an electronic receipt (e-receipt) issued by China’s Ministry of Finance. This will be available around November or December of this year (2019). You can use it in a Chinese company like a receipt for tax.

How does a Fapiao look like?

The official appearance of a Fapiao has two red circular stamps. There are receipts which are printed (机打发票) while some have pre-determined denominations or the ripped one (手撕发票). Regardless of what they look like, make sure that they have the SAT stamp.

No Fapiao is issued when you get a train or plane ticket. In replacement, you need to ask for an itinerary ticket when you book a flight. To encourage its citizens to ask for a Fapiao, the Chinese government has a scratch and win section in the upper right corner which contains prizes.

A receipt doesn’t have this oval stamp.

An original Fapiao and a receipt (收据 shōujù) are different. A receipt doesn’t have a particular stamp. It’s an oval-shaped red stamp with the label “Standard Invoice Stamp Nationwide” (全国统一发票监制章). It has has a phrase that says “Supervised by State Administration of Taxation/Local Municipal Office of SAT” (国家/地方税务局监制) at the bottom. 


At China Admissions, we value proper documentation so we use a Fapiao. If you plan to study in China, hit us a message and we’d be most happy to assist you!

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Content crafter at China Admissions with nine years of professional writing experience. Fil-Chinese who honors my heritage every day. On a fascinating journey exploring China and tracing my ancestry. See China through my lens.
Christine Chiu

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