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Clarifications regarding the e-Invoicing system in Germany: ZUGFeRD

ZUGFeRD, an electronic invoice data exchange format, was created by the Electronic Invoice Forum Germany (FeRD) with the backing of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It is built upon Directive 2014/55/EU, which addresses electronic invoicing for contracts. This hybrid invoice format finds applications across various sectors, supporting electronic transactions in B2B, B2G, and B2C scenarios.

The most recent update is focused on EDI procedures and the ZUGFeRD hybrid invoice format, providing clarity on the timelines for optional and mandatory e-Invoicing in Germany.

There have been inquiries regarding the compatibility of the widely adopted ZUGFeRD hybrid invoice format in Germany with the European Union’s ViDA (VAT in the Digital Age) proposal. The ViDA initiative aims to redefine an invoice as structured electronic data, which has raised certain concerns due to the common classification of PDFs as unstructured data.

The implementation of e-Invoicing in Germany is scheduled to commence on a voluntary basis in 2025, allowing businesses to adapt and transition to the new electronic invoicing system. In 2027, e-Invoicing will become mandatory.

As a result, the tax authorities’ perspective is that an invoice following the ZUGFeRD format, especially starting from version 2.0.1, fundamentally constitutes a structured electronic invoice that adheres to the European standard for electronic invoicing.


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