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EC rule changes to give boost to e-invoicing

29 January 2009  |  8633 views  |  0 EU building, Brussels

The European Commission has agreed to proposals for a new set of rules designed to eliminate the current barriers to e-invoicing in the VAT Directive by treating paper and electronic invoices equally.

The Commission says the aim of the rule change is to increase the use of electronic invoicing, reduce burdens on business, support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and to help tackle fraud.

László Kovács, commissioner for taxation and customs, says: "Today's important initiative will put forward much simpler, more modern and comprehensive rules for invoicing, whilst allowing tax administrations effective means of control. Paper and electronic invoices will be treated equally which will allow businesses to move to a 100% e-invoicing system and to save up to 18 billion euros across the EU".

He says the proposal not only addresses the VAT obstacles which hamper the up-take of electronic invoicing, but it also addresses difficulties that businesses face in respect to the electronic issuance and storing of invoices, as well as discrepancies of the content of invoices.

The Commission says it will remove the pre-conditions of advanced electronic signatures or electric data interchange (EDI) for sending invoices electronically and allow for the electronic storage of invoices - even if the original invoice is in paper format.

The Euro Banking Association and an EU Commission Expert group are currently researching the market for e-invoicing and the potential for wider banking industry involvement.

In the corporate market, banks see potential for generating additional revenue by integrating e-invoicing with existing cash management, supply chain and financing services.

Financial messaging network Swift has been consuklting with its membership about the potential provision of an interbank e-invoicing exchange network and the creation of a banking industry wide standard.

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