E-invoicing | What e-invoicing is
The electronic invoice is a legal and fiscal substitute for the paper bill. This technological system is currently being rolled out in countries around the world. However, despite its spread, there is still some confusion regarding what this term actually means.
The main mistake is thinking that any invoice that is sent and received by electronic means constitutes an electronic invoice per se. In addition to this condition, certain requirements must be met to convert the digital document into an alternative with the same legal and fiscal attributes granted to its counterpart in paper format.
Before an e-invoice can be considered an original valid document, it must meet the specifications laid down in the legislation of the country where it is issued:
Different regions have made the use of e-invoicing mandatory for a greater or lesser number of taxpayers. In Latin America, there are several countries in which the use of this billing system is practically compulsory for 100% of issuers. In Europe, some countries have made it the obligatory format for relations between public administrations and their suppliers.
Prior administrative transactions
Some states require pre-application processes, submission of records and obtaining of certificates, etc., as previous procedures to be completed before starting to issue e-invoices.
In most cases the format in which the e-document should be structured is defined and standardized, with XML as the most widely used language.
Fiscal Control Code
Countries promoting the use of e-invoicing to reduce tax evasion demand the inclusion of control codes in the document. These are normally issued by the pertinent tax administration as a prior step to forwarding the document to the client.
It is common practice in the legislation of different countries to impose the need to apply an electronic signature to the invoice, as a means to ensure document integrity and authenticity of its origin.
Storage of original e-documents under certain security and access conditions is usually covered by the different e-invoicing legislations in force.