So far, in Europe, only Portugal and Italy have made e-Invoicing compulsory. But Europe-wide invoice digitalisation is around the corner. There has long been talk of European e-Invoicing, and specifically of PEPPOL.
What is PEPPOL?
PEPPOL stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line. This project, promoted by the European Commission, identifies a set of infrastructural elements and technical specifications to facilitate e-Procurement and the exchange of data between European countries.
Through PEPPOL, any European company can exchange electronic documents via intermediaries that ensure their safety. 2C Solution operates as an intermediary in its capacity as member of the OpenPeppol association and as a Certified Access Point.
European e-Invoicing vs. national e-Invoicing
E-Invoicing: an opportunity or a disadvantage? Portugal has provided a positive role model by introducing mandatory e-Invoicing on 24 August 2012 in an attempt to tackle the 2008 crisis by fighting tax evasion. This measure turned out to be the main lever of the country’s recovery.
One of the main advantages of electronic invoicing is that it informs the State of all the operations carried out, not just with regard to VAT but also to the whole production system.
In Europe, today, electronic invoicing is optional by law.
One exception is public procurement, with regard to which Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden have introduced mandatory electronic invoicing.
Italy, like Portugal, had to ask Europe for a specific derogation (granted for 2019) to extend mandatory e-Invoicing to private entities.
At the regional level, Emilia Romagna was the first to adopt PEPPOL with Decision 287/2015. Since 1 January 2017, all the other regional bodies have had to adopt PEPPOL to issue orders and delivery notes.
Will 2020 see the introduction of mandatory Europe-wide e-Invoicing through PEPPOL?
Eleven States participate in the PEPPOL project: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. To these we can now add Ireland, Belgium and Spain.
One of the main aims of the project is to turn PEPPOL into the main invoicing method in Europe by 2020. Will this date see the introduction of mandatory Europe-wide e-Invoicing through PEPPOL?