German e-invoicing format ZUGFeRD 2.0, compatible with European standards

German e-invoicing format ZUGFeRD 2.0, compatible with European standards


The forum on e-invoicing in Germany (FeRD – Forum elektronische Rechnung Deutschland) has published the final version of the ZUGFeRD 2.0 format. This version of the national format is compatible with European standard EN 16931 and includes the “Leitweg-ID” field, a public entity identifier field indispensable for issuing e-invoices to public administrations.

ZUGFeRD, the hybrid PDF and XML format

ZUGFeRD is a hybrid national format created to facilitate electronic processes between businesses. It consists of a PDF A/3 and an XML XRechnung. This way, companies of any size and needs can benefit from the format that best suits them, from multinationals to SMEs or freelancers. The recipient can choose between processing the embedded XML or using the invoice in PDF.

Specifically, FeRD has issued five versions of the ZUGFeRD 2.0 document, but only two of them, EN 16931 COMFORT and EXTENDED, are compatible with European standards.

The use of ZUGFeRD is currently more consolidated in the B2B area. The German government has not yet approved the format and the ZRE (Zentral-Rechnungs-Eingangsportal) central e-billing portal does not accept receipt of this format. It may do so in the foreseeable future, given the degree of uptake that could be reached.

B2G e-Invoicing in Germany

The German National IT Planning Council decided to implement the PEPPOL UBL standard, which in Germany is designated “XRechnung”, for e-invoices in the B2G environment. This format is mandatory for central, regional and local authorities.

Germany’s central government has set up a central platform for the management of e-invoicing with public administrations. Connection with ZRE (Zentral-Rechnungs-Eingangsportal) will be made via online web form in the ZRE portal, uploading to the ZRE portal, WebService connection or via the PEPPOL infrastructure. The Coordination Office for IT Standards (KoSIT) has become the German PEPPOL Authority responsible for expanding use of the PEPPOL network.

As of November 27, 2019, sub-central public entities (regional and local) will be required to receive electronic invoices in European format. To do so, they can also make use of the central government’s ZRE platform, or else roll out their own receiving platform that meets the European and national legislative requirements. This will depend on the transposition of the national law to the regional framework.

From November 27, 2020, the B2G electronic invoice will be required for suppliers of the central public administrations, as well as all the regions (“Bundesländer”) that decide to follow the national model, for example the Bremen region.

EDI solutions compatible with all German formats

EDICOM took part in the PEPPOL pilot project in Germany in order to be ready and able to comply with the particular features of the German model. Our multi-standard platform can transform documents into the XRechnung and ZUGFeRD formats. As a certified PEPPOL Access Point, we also provide connectivity with German public administrations and with any European public agency.

Our e-invoicing platform integrates with the ERP or internal management system and complies with the requirements and formats stipulated in the German legislation. In addition, through our Public Administrations HUB, we guarantee direct connectivity with national and local administrations, centralizing clients’ connections with their partners.

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