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XRechnung: e-invoice standards for German authorities

The clock for government suppliers is ticking: XRechnung - e-invoicing to German authorities

XRechnung for German authorities: the clock for government suppliers is ticking

For service providers to the government (suppliers and/or invoice issuers), the most important deadline was 27 November 2020. Before then, they could opt to provide their invoices electronically. After that deadline, they are required to do so. This applies both to German companies and to Austrian companies that have a business relationship with German authorities. A few exceptions exist, for example for direct transactions that do not exceed EUR 1,000 (excluding VAT).

The only legally acceptable e-invoice standards are the XRechnung format that only consists of structured data and the hybrid format ZuGFeRD 2.0. which is not widely used. Simple PDF invoices without structured data and scanned paper invoices will no longer be accepted after the 27 November 2020 deadline. It is essential for invoices to include structured data because it allows authorities to process them automatically.

The challenge suppliers face is that they must first create invoices in their ERP system, then convert them to the XRechnung format and subsequently submit them to the pertinent authority. Depending on the agency, there will be different channels for submitting invoices. Suppliers and service providers to the federal government can use ZRE, an online application.

The most convenient, swiftest and most secure way of submitting invoices, especially if the transaction volume is high, is the fully automated transmission via the PEPPOL network that will be supported by all authorities in Germany. EDITEL offers its clients access to German authorities via PEPPOL and will, upon request, be more than happy to check invoices, convert them to the XRechnung format and submit invoices automatically.

Brief overview: e-invoicing to German authorities

  • Mandatory for service providers since 27 November 2020, earlier voluntary start is optional
  • Applies to jobs from government agencies of EUR 1,000 net and higher
  • Invoice data must be converted to the XRechnung format
  • Invoice submission to the authorities handled by EDITEL

Brief overview: e-invoicing to Austrian authorities

  • Has been a requirement since 1 January 2014 for invoices sent to federal government agencies
  • Federal states and local authorities do not require e-invoicing. However, at a minimum, all invoices must be machine processable. Invoices sent via fax will not be considered as submitted.
  • Invoice submission to the authorities handled by EDITEL
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