Update on e-Invoicing in the German Federal States
UPDATED 03/31/21: Germany is advancing the implementation of e-invoicing in public administrations according to a timeline that makes B2G invoicing mandatory in the federated states.
Since 18th April 2020 the federated states must accept e-invoices in compliance with the European Directive 2014/55/EU. The status of e-invoicing depends on each Federal State (Bundesland) transposing the European Directive via a local decree-law regulating:
E-invoice reception points with regional and local public authorities.
The federal law on German e-invoicing, E-Rechnungs-Gesetz, allows the federated states power to draft their own transposition decrees.
The federated states can choose whether to follow the model determined by the Core Invoice User Specification (CIUS) or their own e-invoicing standard. They are also free to choose whether they want to use the central government’s Zentrales Rechnungseingangsportal OZG-RE platform or their own systems.
If the Federal States develop their own web service, they must offer a connection through the PEPPOL network.
As a result of the decentralized nature of the German billing system, its establishment has had a different development in each federal state.
Progress of e-Invoicing in the Federated States of Germany.
The possible communication channels are: Web capture, web upload, e-mail and PEPPOL.
The allowed standards are XRechnung and CEN-compatible ones.
ZUGFeRD 2.1 Model
The update of the ZUGFeRD e-invoicing model makes it compatible with European standard EN 16931 and the French standard Factur-X 1.0.
Version 1.0 was developed prior to the adoption of Directive 2014/55/EU of 16th April 2014 and before the publication of EN 16931. This means it does not comply with the standardization requirements approved by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), and therefore was incompatible.
ZUGFeRD 2.1 published in March 2020 includes corrections to ensure its’ conformity with EN 16931. The new developments include:
Updating of the code lists.
A solution to upper and lower case problems in the specification identifier.
Corrections for individual cardinalities and the assignation of elements to individual profiles.
Adjustments to better align ZUGFeRD 2.0 with Factur-X.
Besides the updated ZUGFeRD format, the standard used for e-invoicing in B2G relations is the German PEPPOL UBL format, called XRechnung. This format is mandatory for central, regional, and local authorities.
The ZUGFeRD model is expected to gain traction in relations with public administrations following this update. Until now, ZUGFeRD’s hybrid format, involving an A3 PDF and an XML, was the one most commonly used in the B2B sphere. This was because it facilitated electronic processes for businesses and individuals with a low technological profile.
e-Invoicing solutions to be updated in Germany
EDICOM, a tech partner specializing in EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and e-invoicing, offers a data transformation and communications solution to issue invoices in line with the specifications of public administrations. The solution is equally valid for B2B relations.
EDICOM has developed the global e-Invoicing platform with a multistandard capacity, making it possible to format any data into the UBL, XRechnung, or ZUGFeRD standards defined by the German authorities.
EDICOM’s solution ensures the creation, storage, and transmission of electronic documents according to German law, it issues and receives e-invoices with through a solution integrated with the company's ERP system.
EDICOM is also certified as a PEPPOL Access Point, guaranteeing connection not only with German government agencies but any public administration in Europe.
One of the platform’s services is its constant update process: EDICOM actively manages know-how to keep its solution permanently up to date with the regulatory changes periodically occurring in the different countries where solutions are offered. This includes formats, reporting processes, communications, signatures, etc., making it a solution that is adaptable to any new requirements in the rollout of the German e-invoice.