eInvoicing in the European Union: the GOV2EU project as a contribution to the Digital Single Market.


Áreas de investigación

The Instituto universitario de automática e informática industrial (ai2) at the Universitat Politècnica de Valencia (UPV) is participating in the GOV2EU project (Action 2016-EU-IA-0096) funded by the European Commission. The objective of this project is to integrate the electronic invoicing tools in the ERP systems of 21 end users from the European health sector, with the collaboration of EDICOM as technology provider. This project has been implemented in the context of the e-Invoicing Directive 2014/55 / ​​EU that affects European public institutions.

 The adoption of electronic invoicing within the European Union generates significant economic benefits and a clear increase in the competitiveness of European companies. With the support of European legislation, the acceptance of electronic invoices by the public administration will clearly facilitate commercial transactions between the public sector and the private sector. Replacing the physical form on paper with a digital form allows the invoice to be handled more efficiently. This provides significant savings in printing, postage, routing and archiving within the office. This provides significant savings in human resources and significantly reduces errors in data entry.

The GOV2EU Action is located in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Belgium, Slovakia and Hungary. In this publication, we will present a brief summary of the results obtained by the Polytechnic University during the legal analysis of the e-Invoicing context in each country involved in the project.


A necessary impulse

Law 25/2013 regulates the electronic invoice in Spain. This law establishes the obligation to use electronic invoices in all commercial transactions involving a Spanish public institution. This means that, suppliers of public institutions are obliged to use invoices in electronic format, adjusting to the structured format of electronic invoicing Facturae version 3.2.x with electronic signature XAdES.

Based on Directive 2014/55 / ​​EU, the Spanish central administration developed the adaptation of the Spanish standard of electronic invoicing to the European standard. This development will be integrated into FACe, being the main platform for the exchange and validation of electronic invoices in Spain.

It is expected that now, given that the vast majority of procedures in the Spanish public administration is electronic by definition thanks to Law 39/2015, there is a necessary boost to the use of electronic invoicing at European level, given the importance of the State as a customer that receives invoices for its specific weight and capillarity.


Advanced process

Italy is one of the countries in the European Union where the implementation of electronic invoicing is more advanced.From a legislative point of view, in Italy, the legislative decree number 148 of 27 December 2018 implements the Directive (EU) 2014/55 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on electronic invoicing in public procurement. Nevertheless, it must be said that electronic invoicing is mandatory for ministries, tax agencies and national security agencies since 2014 and since 2015 for all public entities. Italy is taking a step further in mandating eInvoicing also at the B2B and B2C levels. From the first of January 2019 B2B e-invoicing has become mandatory for all companies.

From a technical point of view, the eInvoicing system of Italy (Sistema di Interscambio) works with a single exchange hub managed by the Revenue Agency and supported by an IT provider (Sogei) owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The eletronic invoice has to be completed in a specific digitally signed ML 1.2 format.

As an incentive for companies to adopt the standard, Italian government has offered multiple tax benefits to companies.


In France there is the Ordinance No. 2014-697 of 26 June 2014 on the development of electronic invoicing, and the “PACTE” (Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation), making the basic legal environment for electronic invoicing development. Directive 2014/55/EU will be transposed as part of the draft law for the Business Growth and Transformation (PACTE) which is currently being examined by Parliament and should be adopted in the first quarter of 2019.

B2G eInvoicing will be mandatory in France gradually from 2017 until 2020 (the date of enforcement of the law for the suppliers varies according to the company size).  E-Invoicing is actually mandatory for Economic operators (Submitting) and Central authorities, Regional authorities & Local authorities (Receiving and processing).


In Portugal there is the Public Procurement Code (Código dos Contratos Públicos), currently being revised to transpose the Directive 2014/55/EU. Since 1 January 2004, with the entry into force of Decreto-Lei n° 256/2003 of 21 October 2003, contracting authorities can receive and process electronic invoices (eInvoices). The Public Procurement Code (Código dos Contratos Públicos) regulates the use of eInvoices in public procurement. A public consultation took place until 10 October 2016 to update this legal instrument to, among other objectives, transpose the Directive 2014/55/EU. The article 299°- B mandates that all contracting authorities must only receive eInvoices compliant to the European standard on electronic invoicing.


Nowadays, Belgium is in the process to implement the Directive 2014/55/EU. Since 2013 the eInvoicing has equal footing than paper invoicing, but with the willingness of the receivers to process it. It was a consequence of the federal law modifying the VAT code of 17.12.2012. This law does not mandate the use of eInvoices in B2G procurement.

The federal government makes the use of eInvoices in B2G procurement mandatory since 1 January 2018 for all federal entities, for contracts above €135k. The regional government of Flanders acted before in 2016 making it mandatory by the 1 of January 2017 for all its regional entities.

The main entity of the Government of the Brussels Region now accepts eInvoices, but does not make it mandatory yet. The other regional governments in Belgium will follow and soon enable the receiving and processing of eInvoices.


Currently there is no public eInvoicing platform in Slovakia. However, it is planned to start a public procurement process in the short term for the development of a complete eInvoicing solution that allows the full transposition of the Directive that regulates this electronic invoicing.

Regarding legislation, before the end of 2018, a draft regulating electronic invoicing was prepared in Slovakia. This draft allows to specify the requirements of electronic invoices, as well as the procedure to follow for eInvoicing, and the creation of a platform to centralize eInvoicing services. They are currently in a review period, in which external comments are considered to adjust the legislation as best as possible. It is expected that Slovakia will carry out the final approval of the law in the summer of 2019, thus guaranteeing the provisions of article 11 (1) of Directive 2014/55 / EU.


Until mid-2018, in Hungary there was no public platform for electronic invoicing, because there was not a specific legislation on electronic invoicing.

Since July 1, 2018, there is a real-time reporting system for the VAT  data of invoices issued, called RTIR (Real Time Invoice Reporting),  whose use is mandatory for all companies registered in the VAT of the  country (both residents and foreigners), and for all invoices that  exceed € 320 VAT. The real-time issuance of invoices is made directly between the companies and the NTCA (National Tax and Custom Administration). The obligatory nature of this regulation, that it tries to avoid tax fraud, is highlighted by the fine that implies non-compliance, amounting to € 1600 per invoice. In this way, Hungary is adapting to Directive 2014/55 / EU.






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