E-invoicing in the Netherlands dates back to 2011 when the Dutch government mandated central agencies to receive and process e-invoices via Digipoort.
Today, e-invoicing in the Netherlands is compulsory for B2G transactions and voluntary for B2B transactions. All government entities are connected to the PEPPOL network for e-invoicing, and further digitization of the Public Procurement sector is ongoing through an e-orders pilot via PEPPOL.
If you are an entrepreneur who does work for government organizations in the Netherlands, you may be required to send e-invoices. Hence, you need to be familiar with the e-invoicing regulations.
So, what are the e-invoicing regulations in the Netherlands, and how do you send compliant e-invoices? This Dutch e-invoicing regulations guide will answer these questions and more.
What are the e-Invoicing rules in the Netherlands?
While Dutch central and sub-central bodies are legally required to be able to receive e-invoices, only suppliers of central bodies are mandated to send e-invoices. For suppliers of sub-central contracting bodies, e-invoicing depends on specific contracts. The Netherlands has no e-invoicing requirement for B2B transactions.
Electronic invoicing was introduced in the Netherlands on January 1st, 2011, when the government mandated that central agencies must be able to receive and process e-invoices.
The agencies were only required to be able to receive e-invoices. Suppliers were not obligated to send e-invoices. As a result, many suppliers continued with their usual way of invoicing, and e-invoicing adoption was slow.
To address this, the Dutch government transposed the EU e-invoicing directive 2014/55/EU into Dutch Law, giving birth to the National Procurement Act. With this, it became compulsory for central government suppliers to send electronic invoices from January 1st, 2017.
The e-invoicing obligation was extended to sub-central government agencies, organizations, and other contracting authorities in 2019. This meant that sub-central agencies and organizations had to be able to receive and process e-invoices from their suppliers as per the European standard format.
Like how e-invoicing started with Dutch central government agencies, Dutch law does not dictate that the subcentral agencies, organizations, and contracting authorities must receive e-invoices. It only states that these Dutch government bodies should be capable of receiving e-invoices.
However, many public authorities at the state and municipal level voluntarily include e-invoicing requirements in contracts.
As a result, 95% of government entities in the Netherlands implement e-invoicing today.
To further digitize B2G transactions, the Dutch government recently introduced an e-Ordering pilot via PEPPOL.
This pilot allows suppliers to convert e-orders from the government to an e-invoice and send it back immediately, ensuring quick and error-free invoicing and enhancing information exchange between suppliers and government clients.
However, while the adoption of e-invoicing in B2G transactions in the Netherlands is very impressive, there is currently no legislation about e-invoicing in B2B transactions.
Who needs to comply with the e-invoicing regulations in the Netherlands?
In the Netherlands, entrepreneurs who provide services and issue invoices to government organizations will need to comply with e-invoicing regulations.
If the government client in the Netherlands is a central government body (like a ministry), the supplier must send an e-invoice and comply with relevant e-invoicing regulations.
However, e-invoicing compliance will depend on the stipulations of the procurement contract if the government client is a sub-central body (like a municipality, province, water boards, etc.) or an organization that follows public procurement procedures (like a school, museum, etc.).
Many of these contracting bodies require suppliers to send e-invoices, stipulating this in the contracts. When this is the case, the suppliers must comply with all e-invoicing regulations.
How to send compliant e-invoices in the Netherlands?
When invoicing central bodies in the Netherlands, there are three ways to send compliant e-invoices.
- PEPPOL: You’ll need to partner with an Access Point Provider to help you connect to the PEPPOL network.
- Online Portal: Manually input data into an online portal provided by either the government or a service provider.
- Digipoort: It works like an electronic post office and is suitable when exchanging a high volume of invoices with the Dutch government.
When invoicing sub-central bodies in the Netherlands, there are also three ways to send compliant e-invoices.
- PEPPOL: Connect to PEPPOL through an Access Point provider.
- E-mail: If your accounting software can create XML e-invoices, you can send them as e-mail attachments.
- Online portal: Manually input data in online portals.
Characteristics of the electronic invoice in the Netherlands
The characteristics of electronic invoicing in the Netherlands are as follows:
- Network: PEPPOL/ Digipoort
- Format: PEPPOL BIS, NL CIUS, UBL-OHNL, SETU OHNL, NL CLIUS, and BFR.
- Digital Signature: Not required
- Archiving: 7 years (10 years for immovable properties)
What is the e-invoicing network?
The Dutch government has adopted the PEPPOL network for electronic invoicing.
PEPPOL is an e-delivery network that simplifies cross-border procurements by allowing organizations connected to it to exchange electronic business documents seamlessly and securely.
All government bodies in the Netherlands are connected to PEPPOL, and using the network is compulsory when invoicing central government bodies. Using PEPPOL is not compulsory when invoicing sub-central contracting bodies, but the Dutch government recommends it.
The Netherlands PEPPOL Authority is Simplerinvoicing, a foundation made up of several e-invoicing ERP and accounting software providers.
What payment data needs to be submitted when e-invoicing?
Information that must be included when sending e-invoices in the Netherlands are:
- The invoice date
- The invoice identifier/ unique number
- The supplier’s company name and address
- The name and address of the client
- The date of supply
- A description of the goods or services provided
- The number of goods or services provided
- The cost of the goods or services provided
- Any discounts or rebates provided
- The amount payable
- Payment terms
What e-invoice format is required?
There are different formats used in the Netherlands, such as PEPPOL BIS, UBL-OHNL, SETU OHNL, NL CLIUS, and BFR.
- PEPPOL BIS: It allows communication of e-procurement information via the PEPPOL network, thereby enabling cross-border interoperability.
- UBL-OHNL: It’s based on the International Standard UBL (Universal Business Language). It’s used in the Netherlands when procuring goods or services (but not for hiring personnel).
- SETU (XR-XML) OHNL: It’s an XML-based standard used for the hiring of personnel.
- NL CLIUS: It’s an additional specification to the European standard (EN 16931) applicable only in the Netherlands. It replaced the UBL-OHNL. It can also be used for B2B transactions.
- Basis Invoice Rijk (BFR): It’s used for e-invoicing within the central government.
Is a digital signature required?
In the Netherlands, electronic signatures are not required when creating and sending e-invoices.
What is the archiving requirement?
For regulatory and tax-evidencing purposes, it is required that processed e-invoices be moved to a separate storage device and retained for a long time.
The mandatory e-invoice archiving period in the Netherlands is seven years for goods and services and ten years for immovable properties (real-estate-related invoices).
What should businesses do to comply with e-invoice regulations in the Netherlands?
Businesses can comply with e-invoice regulations in the Netherlands by doing the following:
Familiarize yourself with e-invoicing regulations in the Netherlands.
Know what applies to your business segment (B2G or B2G) and the specific requirements you must meet when invoicing, such as standards, invoice content, archiving, etc.
Determine the right solution based on your needs.
Determine the number of invoices you send and evaluate the capability of your ICT infrastructure. This helps you know the solution for sending your e-invoices. For example, Digipoort will be best if you send a high volume of invoices to a central government agency.
Choose a PEPPOL Access Point provider
When invoicing clients via PEPPOL, you need an Access Point Provider to give you access to the secure PEPPOL network.
The Access Point Provider provides a similar service as a telecom provider in a four-corner telecommunication network.
When sending a message in a telecom network, the message moves from you to your telecom service provider to your recipient (via their telecom service provider). A PEPPOL Access Point provider performs a similar function.
When sending an e-invoice in the PEPPOL network, the invoice leaves your device to the Access Point (AP) Provider. The provider ensures it complies with all requirements and then forwards it to your recipient through their Access Point provider.
With your access point from the AP provider, you can send compliant e-invoices to all connected institutions in the Netherlands and abroad.
Takeaway: Use Storecove to ensure e-invoicing compliance when doing business in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is far ahead of many other EU countries in e-invoicing implementation, as 95% of government entities implement e-invoicing today.
It’s mandatory to use e-invoices when transacting with central government agencies, while many non-central public bodies also require e-invoicing.
Like many EU countries, the Netherlands has adopted the PEPPOL framework for e-invoicing. Though B2B e-invoicing is not mandatory, PEPPOL is also increasingly being used in B2B circles.
Also, the Dutch government's recent step toward further digitization of the Public Procurement sector is e-ordering via PEPPOL.
Thus, when starting out with e-invoicing in the Netherlands, it is good to connect to the PEPPOL network via an Access Point Provider. This is where Storecove comes in.
Storecove is a certified PEPPOL Access Point provider that helps businesses send compliant procurement documents across borders.
Storecove will connect your business to the PEPPOL network, convert your electronic invoices to the right format, and safely send them to your target.
With Storecove, you’ll automatically be compliant with the latest e-invoicing regulations. Schedule a demo with our e-invoicing experts today.
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