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Government aims to revive past initiatives to encourage use of Electronic Invoicing in Spain



Spain, June 28, 2013 – Following today's Council of Ministers, Spain's Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría announced that in the next few days the Government will approve the draft bill on Electronic Invoicing and creation of the Accounting Record.

This initiative is framed within the recommendations set forth in the Commission for the Reform of Public Administration (CORA) report, and is part of the package of measures being promoted to encourage savings and efficiency measures in the Spanish administration.

Fostering electronic billing in particular has a twofold objective within this package of initiatives: On one hand, to protect the supplier or service provider, since the system provides better guarantees of delivery and payment transactions, and on the other, “to roll out information and communications technologies” in order to boost “the productivity and competitive edge of the Spanish economy”, as outlined in the report.

Prior to publication of the draft Bill, two of its principal guidelines have already been announced:

  • Mandatory use of electronic billing as of January 15, 2015 in invoices for sums over 5000€
  • Obligatory use in “companies providing services of special financial importance”

Some former initiatives that already aimed to promote electronic invoicing:

Initiatives to encourage the use of electronic billing based on public administrations and their relations with their suppliers are nothing new. Six years ago, Order 2971/2007 already governed the general standards whereby bills in electronic format are accepted by the General State Administration and its dependent public bodies. Article 5 of said regulation specified the need to use an advanced electronic signature to ensure the integrity and authenticity of the electronic documents.

Likewise, the order also described the format in which these invoices should be issued, and under the name Facturae, laid down syntax and processing rules in line with W3C – Extensible Markup Language (XML). Today, 3.0 is the current version of this electronic billing model, while version 4.0 has been in its draft phase since September 2011.

Moreover, Law 30/2007, on contracts with the public sector, explicitly sets 1 August 2009 as the deadline date for the General State Administration to be ready and able to receive and process electronic invoices from suppliers and service providers.

These circumstances determined the need for important investments by the Administration’s different suppliers and creditors in order to prepare their information systems to issue Facturae by the date indicated. The truth of the matter is that in January 2009 there was still no pickup point where the electronic invoices issued by suppliers of the General State Administration should be sent.

The subsequent publication of European Directive 2010/45/UE on electronic invoicing, whose transposition deadline was set as January 2013, left those initiatives already up and running even more in suspense, pending analysis of how this Directive should be adapted to Spanish legislation.

The future of electronic billing becomes clearer

On 1 December 2012, the Official State Gazette published Royal Decree 1619/2012 of November 30, which developed and transposed Directive 2010/45. Adaptation of the directive did not involve major changes to Spanish laws, which in practice allowed the transposition to take place with only slight adaptations to the legislation currently in force to date.

In parallel, Central Government has carried out investments in technology to define the single reception point for invoices from suppliers and service providers, which should facilitate the rollout of reception systems in the administrations.

All these situations, along with the initiatives carried out in Spain since 2007, set out a solid base that paves the way.

The draft Bill announced today by the government seems to be based on solid foundations that should be able to ensure the rapid uptake of digital invoicing by businesses and public administrations.

Other related Edicom publications:

Facturae Expert Analysis

Transposition of Directive 2010/45 EU to Spanish legislation.

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