2018: Key year for e-Invoicing in the European Union

2018: Key year for e-Invoicing in the European Union

18/11/2016

Directive 2014/55/EU governs aspects related with e-invoicing in the public procurement system. The ruling focuses on the development of a European standard that ensures the "semantic interoperability" of all invoices issued in the EU.




2018 is the year of e-Invoicing in the European Union. The expectation is that by then the use of e-invoicing will be widespread, in accordance with the objective of Directive 2014/55 /EU, which requires member states of the union to use these e-documents in public procurement processes as of November 2018. This initiative will ease cross-border trade relations through the creation of an interoperable common standard.

According to the latest Billentis report, of the 30 billion e-invoices to be exchanged in 2016, 8 billion will be processed in Europe, the majority (5 billion) exchanged between companies and the public sector. Although there is still some time before it becomes mandatory, some countries have already established the use of e-invoicing in the B2G area.


Lack of a common standard

Spain, Italy, Portugal and France already have legislation in place on B2G e-invoicing. Each country has defined a model with different technical characteristics and requirements, in some cases even including particular regional features within the same country. The problem is that, as indicated in Directive 2014/55/EU, “none prevails and most lack interoperability with each other.”

This plethora of standards may give rise to difficulties when maintaining international trade relations. For this reason, the European Parliament and Council took the decision to issue Directive 2014/55 / EU, which stipulates that the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) must create a European standard by a deadline of May 27, 2017.


European regulation on e-invoicing

The CEN has not yet made any information public on the progress of this standard. However, the Directive identifies seven basic requirements to be met by the standard:

  • Must be technologically neutral.
  • Must be compatible with international e-billing standards.
  • Ensuring personal data protection in accordance with European regulation.
  • Must be coherent with the provisions of Directive 2006/112/EC.
  • Must encourage adoption of e-invoicing systems that are practical, easy-to-use, flexible and profitable.
  • Must take into account the special needs of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as those of sub-central adjudicating authorities and contracting bodies.
  • Must be suitable for use in business transactions between companies.

Adopting Directive 2014/55/EU

European Union member states must transpose the European directive to their national legislation and adopt e-invoicing in business relations with the public sector by 27 November 2018. In some cases, it is possible to defer application in sub-central bodies and contracting entities for up to 30 months after publication of the European standard, scheduled for May 2017.

Once the use of B2G e-invoicing is widespread throughout the European Union, the economic savings are expected to reach around €2.3 billion.

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