e-invoicing in France

In France, use of the EDI system is widespread, with additional procedures to ensure the integrity and authenticity of invoices, in accordance with European directives and the different transpositions into French legislation.

Mandatory status

Only the obligation to issue e-invoicing in relations with the public administration is specified, in a project scheduled to start up in 2017 and lasting until 2020, the deadline for 100% of the public administration’s suppliers to be delivering their invoices in electronic format.

e-Signature

In France, the use of e-signature in invoices has traditionally been relegated to PDF formats, with structured formats, (EDIFACT, XML, X12, etc.) being subject to additional controls. Nevertheless, forecasts point to increasing use of electronic signature based on acknowledged certificates from a secure device.

Format

For invoices addressed to the public administration as of 2017, two types of XML file are permitted: INVOICE UBL V2 and UN/CEFACT CII (CCTS/NDR v3.0). Invoices may also be submitted in PDF format, signed through the Chorus Portal for small and micro businesses issuing fewer than 1000 invoices monthly.

Storage

Although the legal obligation stipulates preserving invoices for 6 years, it is common practice for issuer and recipient to keep the original documents for at least 10 years due to the different interpretations that may be drawn from the specifications set forth in the different French codes.

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