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New e-invoice regulations in Austria effective 1 January 2013!

Neue e-Invoice Regelung in Österreich ab 1.1.2013

The new Austrian 2012 Tax Amendment Act will also include new regulations concerning electronic invoicing. Effective 1 January 2013, paper and electronic invoices are treated exactly the same under this EU directive. The legal and organizational rules have been defined and published. In an effort to safeguard investments involving existing implementation projects at the end of the year, GS1 strongly advocated for maintaining the existing legal situation during the stakeholder forum of the Austrian Ministry of Finance. 

We are therefore pleased to announce that the EDI community does not have to take immediate action in terms of adapting to the new legal stipulations. Existing EDI implementation projects involving electronic invoices (INVOIC files) with collected paper invoices or with advanced signature will be accepted for tax audits even after January 2013.

However, this does not mean that the uncontested significant potential inherent to this new regulation will not impact EDI environments in the medium term. As a matter of fact, both the complementary collected paper invoice and the advanced signature are no longer needed when transferring eINVOICEs after 1 January 2013. This procedure is subject to the invoice recipient’s consent.

Notes for e-invoice users, effective 1 January 2013

Can the collected paper invoice still be used in combination with EDI?
Yes! However, please be sure to indicate that collected paper invoices are merely a summary of transactions that have already been invoiced. This agreement can be made either in writing or orally. However, this is no different than the current legal situation.

Can the advanced signature be used in the future?
Yes! There is only one change compared to today’s legal situation; it pertains to invoice recipients. Invoice recipients must, in addition to the previous procedure, have the signatory’s certificate validated at the online RTR verification at least once. This protocol (in PDF format) serves as proof that the certificate provider is a certificate service provider known to RTR.

Is there immediate need to act for industrial companies and the retail sector when it comes to accounting practices after 1 January 2013?
No, unless you would like to start using the newly defined implementation options (see next question) right away!

Which new implementation options will be available starting in 2013?
In addition to the existing options, starting in January, you will have the option of sending electronic invoice files without collected paper invoices and without advanced signature. However, the invoice recipient must consent to this procedure. In addition, the authenticity of the invoice’s origin, the integrity of its content and its readability must be guaranteed from the time of issuing until the end of the seven-year conservation period. Also, electronic files must include all invoice components required by law.

Regarding the EDI procedure, GS1 Austria recommends negotiating a written EDI agreement and having both parties sign it. What is new in this area is the internal management procedure. Unlike in the case of EDI and/or signature procedures, no technical regulations or communication procedures have been predefined. During the management or control procedure, it needs to be checked if invoice and accounts receivable match (has the exchange of goods and services actually taken place?). This can be taken care of with a customized accounting system, but can also be done manually by checking invoices against existing business documents (e.g. order forms, despatch advices). Therefore, any company is free to decide (provided that the invoice recipient agrees) how it will ensure the authenticity of the electronic invoice’s origin and the integrity of its content.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact EDITEL Austria or GS1 Austria!

Useful Links

Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance

Contact GS1 Austria:
Karl Cegner
Tel. 01 505 86 01-19

EDITEL Partner Network