Germany Finalizes the Implementation of Electronic Invoicing with the Public Administration
Germany is taking the final steps towards widespread use of the electronic invoice in the public sector. As of November 27th, all suppliers on a federal level, as well as suppliers to the federal state of Bremen, must adhere to the electronic invoicing system. The rollout of electronic invoicing in Germany, which began in 2017, will be completed with the compulsory incorporation of public suppliers.
Since April 2020, all German public entities at both the national and state level have been technologically capable of receiving electronic invoices from their suppliers. Access to the German government procurement system is easier if you know their invoicing model.
B2G e-Invoicing Schedule in Germany
- 18/04/2019: Mandatory reception of B2G electronic invoices on a national level
- 18/04/2020: Mandatory reception of B2G electronic invoices at the regional and local levels
- 27/11/2020: Mandatory emission of B2G electronic invoices for suppliers at the federal level, as well as suppliers to the state of Bremen.
Electronic invoicing in the German B2G (Business to Government) sphere is now a reality. The country had to adapt its invoicing system to make it compatible with European Union requirements detailed in EU Directive 2014/55. The Directive sought to establish a European standard for electronic invoicing to guarantee interoperability between the different Member States.
The national process in Germany has run parallel to that of its 16 federal states, each with the legislative autonomy to carry out its own transposition of the European directive. Rollout culminates on November 27th with adoption by public suppliers.
The German Electronic Invoicing System at the National Level
The central government (unmittelbare Bundesverwaltung) electronic invoice format in Germany is defined by the Core Invoice User Specification (CIUS).
- Two formats are accepted: the national ZUGFeRD 2.1.1 and the PEPPOL UBL, called the XRechnung 2.0.0
- The invoices can be transmitted via the Zentrale Rechnungseingangsplattform des Bundes (ZRE) or the Onlinezugangsgesetz-konforme rechnungseingangsplattform (OZG-RE). They delivered by means of an electronic web form on the ZRE portal itself, by uploading to the invoice portal in XRechnung format, via WebService connection, or via the PEPPOL network.
B2G Electronic Invoicing in the Federal States
Each German federal state (Bundesland) chose its own electronic invoicing model. They had the option to either follow the federal model established in the CIUS or to develop their own invoice format. They could also choose between using the ZRE platform or another system. Apart from guaranteed compatibility with the European standard, the only other requirement was that they offer a PEPPOL connection if they implemented their own web service.
You can consult the invoicing system adopted in each of the federal states (Bundesländer).
What is the Leitweg-ID?
The Leitweg-ID is a mandatory field in the XRechnung message format and an optional field in the ZUGFeRD 2.1.1 (XRechnung profile) format. It is used to securely identify the recipient of a document in the diverse ecosystem of German electronic invoicing. The code is used only for invoices addressed to public entities that also use a reception platform, such as ZRE or OZG-RE.
The Leitweg-ID is a unique code that identifies the recipients of B2G documents sent to invoice reception platforms. It is a mandatory field specified by the Koordinierungstelle für IT-Standards (KoSIT), the entity responsible for developing the standardized invoice. It must be provided by the contractor, in this case the Public Administration, to the issuer of the electronic invoice. The issuer will incorporate it into the document before sending.
Two Leitweg-ID codes must be provided. The first is a technical code, which identifies the buyer's platform, for example, the ZRE platform for central government invoice reception. The second code is a commercial one and will be provided by the buyer with each new contract or order.
Electronic Invoicing Solutions to Operate in Germany
Navigating the complexity of electronic invoicing in Germany is made simple with the EDICOM solution. It is a global electronic invoicing platform with multi-standard capabilities and the ability to connect to any government hub, allowing users to operate at both the central and state level.
Regardless of whether the electronic invoices must be issued in ZUGFeRD or XRechnung format, or if users need to connect to the ZRE platform, the OZG-RE portal, or zERIKA in Bremen,
the EDICOM platform follows the technical and legal specifications established by each region’s e-invoice system. This flexibility makes it the ideal solution for companies working in the German market, in both the B2G and B2B sectors.
Among other features of EDICOM's Global e-Invoicing Platform, it guarantees connection to the entire PEPPOL network. EDICOM is certified as an Access Point (AP), which ensures connectivity not only with German government agencies but with any public administration in Europe.
As an accredited Access Point (AP), EDICOM can connect to the PEPPOL e-procurement platform and all other Access Points (AP) in the network. Private companies and governments throughout Europe can exchange electronic documents of any kind through PEPPOL: invoices, purchase orders, price catalogs, etc.
The PEPPOL Guarantee
Public administrations in Germany, whether national or federal, must allow suppliers the option to connect through the PEPPOL network as the alternative or preferred method for electronic information exchange. This requirement ensures interoperability nationwide.
EDICOM operates through the multi-protocol EDICOMNet network, which includes a Public Administration Hub. The Hub connects to all public administrations, whether local, regional, or supranational. It simplifies operations for companies that would otherwise need to establish point-to-point connections with public administrations.
After identifying the administration to which information is to be sent, the EDICOM Hub validates the syntax and structure of the message and connects using the required protocols. In the case of PEPPOL, all connections between Access Points are made through the Hub.
*The contents of this publication belong solely to EDICOMGROUP and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.