Spreading of Electronic Invoice in Europe

As emerges from the analysis of the B2B Invoicing & e-Commerce Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, the situation of Electronic Invoicing in Europe is still very fragmented on the 33 countries (EU28 + other 5) examined. Italy is the forerunner, with e-invoicing now total in the B2g area and partial in B2b, while in 20 countries at least one obligation has been activated:

  • in 8 total obligation B2g (ex: Finland, Portugal, Sweden, …);
  • in 7 partial obligation B2g, depending on company turnover, invoice amount, type of PA (eg: France, Spain, Austria, …);
  • in 4 countries companies can send electronic invoices to public administrations, which are obliged to receive them (eg: Germany);
  • In 13 countries no obligation is still active (eg: United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Greece, …).

As regards the Electronic Billing models, the analysis found that in 14 countries there is a central hub (similar to the Italian model, with a Ministry with responsibility for the EI process, supported by an agency that is in charge of IT and process parts), while 6 countries have decentralized models, the most widespread of which are 3-4 corners with different provider platforms that dialogue with each other (eg: Peppol model).

There are many formats used at European level (XML Peppol, ebInterface, BIS 3 UBL, OIOUBL, Finvoice, XMLPA, e-SLOG, Factur-X, etc.); hence the need to start a project that, at least at the PA level, gives uniformity. Directive 2014/55 /EU sets the EI in public procurement area; 31 of the 33 countries analysed (excluding Iceland and Turkey) were obliged to implement it by 18 April 2019; to date, only 20 have implemented the directive and implemented regulatory processes (in Italy Legislative Decree 148/2018), 8 have started the transposition process, while 3 have not yet started.

In Italy, two projects have also been developed (eIgor and EeISI) which, on the one hand, have enabled the national EI system to exchange invoices compliant with the European standard, thus enabling the ES to be able to receive these invoices; on the other hand they have tried to elaborate a semantic model that takes into account the Italian peculiarities in relation to some tax obligations and then refer to the standard format.


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Data Source: Webinar “Fatturazione Elettronica: i benefici e le opportunità identificati dall’osservatorio” – Osservatorio Fatturazione Elettronica & e-Commerce B2B della School of Management del Politecnico di Milano