e-Invoicing in the European Union

All European Union member countries must transpose their legislative frameworks to Directive 2010/45 / EU and subsequent rulings on e-invoicing in order to harmonize the procedures for issuance and control of this type of document within the EU. The common legal framework for member states highlights the need to guarantee the origin and authenticity of electronic invoicing.

Mandatory status

E-invoicing in Europe has been developed in a harmonizing and integrating spirit to enhance the benefits of e-commerce between businesses, so the compulsory nature of its widespread use has never been proposed in any member state.
In some cases, it is required for relations with public administration, but not for tax purposes, rather with the aim of improving the relations between administrations and their suppliers.

Administrative transactions required

For digitally signed invoices, it is necessary to have an e-certificate issued by a European CA.


The European directive specifically cites signature as one of the mechanisms that may be used to ensure integrity and authenticity of origin. In some countries such as Spain it is widely used, while in others such as France it is increasingly being encouraged, although its use is not compulsory.


Only defined for relations with public administrations in certain countries. In these cases, the most commonly used format is XML, individually structured for each country.


Storage times may vary from one state to another, although the periods are usually around 5 years and mandatory for the recipient. In some particular cases such as Italy, additional requirements are stipulated for signature and proof checking to ensure the safekeeping of the document in electronic format through time as a valid proof.

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