Electronic invoicing in Germany
As of 27 November 2020, suppliers will issue invoices to the public entities of the German Federal Government and Bremen only in electronic format. These entities do not accept paper or pdf invoices for business-to-government (B2G) public procurement transactions. Other states will commit to the same system within a few years.
Is B2B e-Invoicing mandatory in Germany?
In Germany, private organizations cannot be forced to receive invoices in electronic format due to EU law. So, currently business-to-business e-Invoicing is still voluntary.
In October 2023 the German Ministry of Finance published a Growth Opportunities Act – Introduction of mandatory electronic invoices; Admissibility of the XRechnung and ZUGFeRD formats.
Released updates are;
- Invoices that adhere to both the established XStandard and ZUGFeRD formats and meet the EN-based format criteria.
- There are ongoing efforts to maintain the use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) procedures within the upcoming legal framework, although some technical modifications will be necessary.
- The government’s proposed plan involves a gradual transition, but all taxpayers must be capable of receiving electronic invoices by January 1, 2025.
Who is eligible for e-Invoicing in Germany?
Every trader in Germany can switch to electronic invoicing at any time. Many German taxpayers have already adopted electronic invoicing to increase work efficiency and reduce the costs associated with the manual invoicing process.
What is ZUGFeRD?
ZUGFeRD is an abbreviation of “Zentraler User Guide des Forum Elektronische Rechnung Deutschland”. It is a hybrid e-invoice model that includes both electronic XML and visual PDF versions of the invoice.
The new ZUGFeRD version 2.2 was released in March 2022. It is identical to the French e-invoicing format Factur-X. It can be used in France for B2B and B2G e-invoicing. And it could also be used to exchange e-invoices between Germany and France.
Furthermore, this new version has its own profile, named “conform” or “EN 16931”, which conforms with the EU e-invoicing format. It is fully compliant with B2B e-invoicing in Germany. In addition, companies can use version 2.2 with profile X-Rechnung for B2G e-invoicing. The government indicates:
“The new ZUGFeRD version 2.2, made available with the X-Rechnung profile, fulfills the requirements of public procurement e-invoicing in Germany. Not only does it meet the requirements of the European standard EN16931, but also those of the national business rules and administration. Specific provisions of the X-Rechnung standard are included.”
Currently, it can be sent only as an XML file, without the PDF part, to the Federal Government and Bremen entities. It is Peppol enabled for sending.
How can SNI’s SAP ZUGFeRD add-on help you?
- SNI’s SAP-ZUGFeRD is an SAP add-on enabling electronic invoice exchange including structured data in public and private sectors.
- ZUGFeRD invoices carry a human-readable representation of the invoice, as well as a structured machine-readable XML representation. The human-readable representation is encoded in PDF format, in accordance with PDF/A standards. SNI’s solution is developed to create the both formats automatically with data extracted from SAP.
- SNI provides an end-to-end solution, which comprises data mapping and processing, as well as transmission of e-invoices to trade partners or tax authorities by e-mail, de-mail, etc.
- No OCR needed
- Output data is accessible and inbound posting is possible
- No need to keep paper
- No SAP script development for printing/sending output
- No SAP smartform development for printing/sending output
- No Idoc, EDI or similar development for integration
- Data can be sent via web service, or file-based technologies like email, FTP, SFTP…
- Output data will be accessible via PDF and XML any time
- Digital signature supported files (Xades, Pades)