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Netherlands government to impose e- invoicing from 2017


The Netherlands now joins the list of European countries due to roll out Public Sector e-invoicing in the coming months. As of January 1, 2017, the central government will only accept electronic invoices in XML format, as announced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This means that suppliers must adopt this system before the deadline provided. It is important to note that the requirement affects contracts signed as of January 1, 2017. Suppliers with contracts in force with the administration signed prior to this date will not be obligated, although they are free to join this electronic system voluntarily at any time.

Among the reasons that prompted the Dutch executive to implement this paperless initiative is Directive 2014/55/EU, which requires all Member States to adopt e-invoicing in public procurement processes as of November 2018. This way, the Dutch government anticipates the regulation, just as other countries such as Spain, France or Italy have done.

In addition, with the adoption of e-invoicing the Minister of Economic Affairs aims to reduce bureaucracy, simplify relations with the public sector and improve tax control systems. But above all, the focus is on the economic savings that this may bring to the public coffers, with annual cash savings of roughly €10 million forecast.


What is the e-billing situation in the Netherlands?

Government initiatives on e-invoicing in the Netherlands began in 2009. However, since then, the government has carried out several technological advances that have made the current regulations possible. The system becomes mandatory for the Central Administration and its suppliers as of 2017.

The current requirements of this system allow the use of two standards. On one hand, UBL-OHNL, a variant of the UBL-XML standard specifically developed for the Dutch public authorities and designed for the issuance of invoices for goods and services provided to the administration. And on the other, the XML-SETU language, for issuing invoices related to the hiring of temporary staff and services in administrations. However, both standards are destined to coexist temporarily in the coming years, as the government plans to adopt the Interoperable European Standard as soon as it becomes available.


Connection with Central Administration

One of the most complex issues in developing e-invoicing projects is connectivity with the Public Sector. In this sense, the Dutch government provides different systems that adapt to the technological capacity of the supplier:

  • By web form. This option is only recommended for small-scale suppliers with a very low billing volume, as the entire process is manual.
  • Through the official e-invoicing HUB, designated Digipoort. This is the most interesting option for suppliers issuing a medium to high billing volume, as the whole process takes place automatically. It also guarantees connectivity with any state agency.

To work with Digipoort, suppliers are recommended to engage the services of a company specializing in e-invoicing, such as EDICOM. This way, they can roll out a scalable solution integrated with their own ERP or management system, with no need to modify internal working procedures.


EDICOM, leader in e-invoicing

With over 20 years of experience, EDICOM is one of the leading international suppliers in the implementation of this technology. Creation of the Permanent e-Invoicing Observatory allowed the company to create a global solution, which is constantly updated and ready to issue e-invoicing in compliance with the requirements of more than 60 countries worldwide.

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