Introducing XRechnung – eInvoicing for the German public sector

The eInvoicing Act (1/12/16) and eAccounting regulation (6/9/17) now mean that the provisions of Directive 2014/55/EU will be mandated into German law. But what does this mean?

The eInvoicing Act will create a binding legal basis for the receipt and processing of electronic invoices by federal public authorities in Germany. The Act explains the concept of eInvoices – invoices issued, transmitted and received in a structured electronic format so that automatic and electronic processing is possible. In addition, ‘recipients’ (who the invoices are sent to) and ‘areas of application and thresholds’ (such as billing thresholds and limits) are defined.

The law will be come into force from 27 November 2018. The implementation period for sector contractors and sub-contractors is 28 April 2020. Invoicing parties will need to invoice electronically for public contracts from November 2020 onwards.

What is the XRechnung?
The XRechnung is an XML-based data model and is the approved specification for eInvoices for German public sector organisations.

How and where can electronic invoices be submitted?
The federal government, the states and municipalities, as well as other public sector organisations (such as universities, public utilities, etc.) will offer several administrative portals for billing organisations to use, where they will have to register with a user account. Invoice data can then be input, created and transmitted either manually or as an automated process.

What are the challenges?
The new legal framework for invoicing and billing electronically presents numerous challenges:
  • Time is running out: From November 2020 onwards, the public administration in Germany will only accept legally-compliant electronic invoices.
  • Complexity of the format: The XML-based data model is comprehensive and complex to implement.
  • Through the federal structure, there will be multiple administrative portals. This raises some questions, such as “How do I know as a supplier which portal my customer uses?”
  • Inefficient input options: For smaller suppliers, only manual input of invoice data is possible.
Proactis provides tailor-made eInvoicing solutions for the implementation of the eInvoice regulation. If you have any questions, please contact us via X-Rechnung@proactis.com.