In Germany, it is mandatory for the public authorities to send and receive electronic invoices when conducting any transactions, with XRechung as the mandated format.
With new changes introduced by the European Union in the region, Germany is also taking the lead in adopting Peppol and its standards. With the help of the Peppol implementation, Germany is enhancing its process of exchanging electronic documents.
In the following post, we will discuss what e-procurement in the country and the Peppol standards will look like.
Let’s dive in.
Is e-invoicing mandatory in Germany?
The government in Germany has decided to make e-invoices mandatory in certain transactions. Although the European framework has regulated e-invoices all across the region, it is important to consider the German legislation because of varying regulations in every country.
Electronic invoicing is popular worldwide, being implemented across wide-ranging industries. When it comes to Germany, almost 32,000 million e-invoices undergo transactions yearly.
The State Treaty on IT laid standards for using information technology across the state and federal public administration.
And as part of its rules on electronic invoicing, the National IT Planning Council made a various set of decisions:
- The government has mandated the public authorities to conduct their operations using XRechung invoices in June 2017. XRechung is a core invoice user specification (CIUS) associated with the European Norm (EN) 16931.
- The Council decided in October 2018 that the public authority needs to be reachable using Peppol if they were offering a website service for electronic invoices.
- Accordingly, the KoSIT (Coordination Office For IT Standards) became the German Peppol Authority (PA) in June 2018.
- In November 2020, it became mandatory for all public contractors to conduct the procurement process with federal authorities only using e-invoices.
What is PEPPOL?
Peppol refers to the framework and specifications that allow eProcurement and e-invoicing across borders. The use of Peppol is maintained by OpenPeppol but governed by cross-dimensional structures.
It is important to note that Peppol is not a platform for e-Procurement, but that it offers technical specifications that suppliers can utilize in eProcurement solutions, as well as eBusiness exchange services across the region.
Accordingly, Peppol allows the trading partners to exchange electronic documents that follow certain standards over its network, such as:
- Advance Shipping Notes;
- Message Level Responses;
- e-invoices, etc.
The KoSIT, the German Peppol Authority, is formed through an e-government division. It is also a permanent organisation under the National IT Planning Council.
The main responsibilities of this authority are to support the Council in adopting IT security and interoperability standards while also managing different e-government projects. Besides these, the KoSIT also plays a fundamental role in defining the national standards for e-invoicing.
What are the requirements for e-procurement and e-invoicing in Germany?
Starting from the 27th of November 2020, contractors and suppliers for the federal government and other authorities must issue e-invoices. Only those whose direct orders amount up to a value of 1,000 euros are excluded from this.
E-invoicing Standards (XRechnung, ZUGFeRD, EN 16931)
The European standard for e-invoices (EN-16931) has specified XRechnung as the preferred format. A routing ID, Leitwege-ID, needs to be included in the invoice so that its recipient can find it. The XRechnung is particularly developed for German public authorities transactions.
There is another format called ZUGFeRD 2.0. It is a combination between a readable PDF document and XML XRechnung format. ZUGFerD is mostly used for B2B transactions. It is usually preferred by freelancers and smaller companies who prefer e-invoices in PDF format.
Both standards align with EN 16931 and can be used with Peppol BIS Billing 2.0 standard.
Accordingly, all invoices in non-electronic format will be refused by the administration or the government in Germany. It is important to follow the specified standard and other regulations.
Eventually, an extension of these obligations is expected for other transactions, as electronic invoicing is becoming more popular.
German E-invoicing Platform: ZRE
Germany is also working on a national electronic invoicing platform called the ZRE. The platform will serve as an intermediary between public organizations and administration providers. In this way, the government aims to develop a single system to make internal and external trade easy.
While ZRE makes it mandatory for all the companies to submit their invoices using the XRechnung standard, there is another platform for suppliers called the OZG-RE. However, as of yet, not every federal state makes use of the OZG-RE.
How to receive and process e-invoices in Germany?
Many e-invoicing operations in the country are moderated by bilateral agreements between solution providers and public entities. Public entities that receive e-invoices decide whether to process e-invoices using a non-automated process or structured data. The Peppol network can use both the XRechnung and Peppol BIS 3 Standards.
There are numerous e-invoicing platforms that are recommended or mandated by the government in the country for public procurement.
One of the recommended platforms is Storecove, which serves as a Peppol access point provider. Working with over 35,000 companies already, Storecove sends e-invoices to governments and companies safely across the world using the Peppol network.
Here’s what you need to do to receive and process e-invoices, whether you are a government organization or a company.
- You first need to register with your Peppol access provider.
- Then, you need to request a Peppol ID.
- Your access provider will check whether you are connected with the Peppol network or not. This occurs by checking the Peppol database.
- Once the ID is validated, you can easily receive and send e-invoices on PEPPOL.
Benefits of Peppol e-invoicing
The Peppol network is quite beneficial. Not only is it cost-effective, but it also has a lower risk of fraud. If you own a large-scale company with its own ERP, service provider, or software vendor, you can easily connect with Peppol.
On the other hand, many service providers can provide Peppol capabilities for small-scale and medium enterprises.
Besides Europe, countries like New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore plan to introduce e-invoicing requirements while using Peppol as the main network. This means that Peppol has opportunities to grow beyond Europe.
Here are further benefits of Peppol:
The latest statistics showcase that e-invoicing has allowed German authorities, the public sector, and private businesses to save almost 2.5 – 4.5 billion euros annually.
- Low fraud risk
It is much safer to exchange UBL Peppol documents using its network than trying other methods like sending PDF invoices over e-mail. This is because other methods are more likely to get hacked.
- Global reach
Electronic business documents are becoming more and more popular worldwide. This is because they are making global trade and collaboration easy.
- Easy technical implementation
You only need to incorporate the Peppol network once instead of creating different point-to-point integrations like EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) standards. This makes Peppol’s implementation and maintenance very cost-efficient and easy.
Peppol e-invoicing with Storecove
Storecove can help you stay connected with global contractors and send e-invoices to companies and governments easily. We comply with all the European and Asian e-invoicing regulations, ensuring that you can conduct your operations without hassle.
Register at Storecove today to send compliant electronic invoices on PEPPOL.
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