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High Level Group spot on

EUROPEAN COMMISSION - High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens


"The VAT Directive explicitly allows the use of electronic means for sending and archiving invoices. The rules however leave too many options to Member States so that national requirements for electronic invoices differ between Member States, which increases costs in case of cross-border transactions and makes e-invoicing less attractive. In particular, different rules regarding the authenticity of the invoice have been identified as one among several reasons why the overall market penetration of e-invoicing across the EU is still low. 
....... The estimate of the administrative burdens of the invoicing rules is EUR 43 bn. per year and the mid-term savings potential concerning electronic invoicing is estimated at EUR 18 bn. of these VAT-specific costs. .... reduction potential in terms of overall administrative costs is estimated at EUR 113 bn. .... Moreover, beyond the cost-cutting dimension, the use of electronic invoicing and its integration into IT supported business processes has a real potential to contribute to overall business competitiveness. 

...The HLG welcomes the Commission’s plan to reduce the administrative burden stemming from the current VAT rules on invoicing. The HLG believes that this area holds a significant reduction potential and that especially a higher uptake of
electronic invoicing by businesses would yield important savings for European businesses. It therefore calls upon the Commission to present an ambitious legislative proposal removing unnecessary obligations in this area and enabling enterprises throughout Europe to make maximum use of the savings potential presented mainly by electronic invoicing and electronic archiving.

The guiding principle should be the equal treatment of paper and electronic invoices whilst encouraging enterprises to use electronic invoicing. For this reason, the HLG calls upon the Commission
and the Member States to eliminate requirements specifically imposed on electronic invoicing and electronic archiving which may hinder the uptake of these technologies and prevent the realisation of significant cost savings. In any instance, the equal treatment of paper and e-invoices should not lead to new requirements for paper invoices that are more burdensome than the current ones.

Brussels, 22 October 2008"

Now it is time to brush aside unfounded fears and take the easy way - the only way. Anything else would:

1. fail to give SMEs much so much needed relief 

2. seriously delay the development in the presently most important single market step

3. fail to use the mass market learning aspect an easy migration would be 


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