Electronic Invoicing

Germany: B2G e-Invoicing in the German Federal States

e-Invoicing in the German Federal States

Germany implemented e-Invoicing in public administrations according to a timeline that made B2G invoicing mandatory in the federated states.

Electronic invoicing in the German B2G (Business to Government) sphere is a reality. The country had adapted 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.

Combating tax fraud is one of the main objectives of the new government. They propose the implementation of a new national VAT declaration system to create, verify and send invoices. The government intends to modernize the tax system and the existing communications between the public administration and companies. 

e-Invoicing in the German Federal States [Hide]

B2G e-Invoicing in Germany and Directive 2014/55/EU

European Directive 2014/55/EU calls on all member-state government agencies to be able to receive and manage electronic invoices in accordance with the standard specified by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), 434 EU NORM 16931.

To deliver on the Directive, Germany, like the other EU member states, transposes the European regulation by drafting domestic laws.  The German government enacted the E-Rechnungs-Gesetznational law and the E-Rechnungsverordnung legislative decree to that end.

When the publication of the European invoicing standard was pushed back from 27 May 2017 to 18 October 2017, the European Parliament awarded an extension to the deadlines. The extension has been included in the domestic laws of the countries that have sought it, including Germany. This means the timeline for the application of B2G e-invoicing in Germany is:

  • 04/18/2019: B2G e-invoicing mandatory for receiving at national level.
  • 04/18/2020: B2G e-invoicing mandatory for receiving at regional and communal level.
  • 11/27/2020: B2G e-invoicing mandatory for sending at federal level.

By 18 April 2020 the 16 federal states, or Länder, in the German Federal Republic had their transpositions, as the German e-invoicing law E-Rechnungs-Gesetz authorizes them to enact their own transposition decrees.

B2G e-Invoicing status at the national level in Germany

In terms of the e-Invoicing model at the central level, Legislative Decree E-Rechnungsverordnung has created the Koordinierungstelle für IT-Standards (KoSIT) institution, responsible for creating a standardized invoice that meets EN 16931 requirements. The e-invoice specifications are set out in the Core Invoice User Specification (CIUS).

The central government 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 accepted communications are:

  • Manual
  • Email
  • De-Mail
  • WebService
  • Peppol

The government has also created a national central invoice platform called Zentrale Rechnungseingangsplattform des Bundes (ZRE). The platform will be the intermediary between suppliers and the central administration.

Communications via the European PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) infrastructure are not yet operative. The authority responsible for the PEPPOL network in Germany is KoSIT.

What is ZUGFeRD?

The ZUGFeRD data format is based on the Directive 2014/55/EU of 16 April 2014 on electronic invoicing for public contracts and on the EN16931 standard published on 28 June 2017. Also, the Cross-Industry Invoice (CII) of UN/CEFACT and the ISO standard 19005-3:2012 (PDF/A-3) are also considered as of ZUGFeRD 2.0. The "Forum Elektronische Rechnung Deutschland" (FeRD) is responsible for developing and managing the ZUGFeRD standard.

As a hybrid data format, ZUGFeRD (Zentraler User Guide des Forums Elektronische Rechnung Deutschland) integrates structured invoice data in XML format into a PDF document (PDF/A-3). This means that the invoice is always sent in the form of a PDF document, which represents the visual component of the invoice. At the same time, an identical multiple copy of the same invoice (XML) is also sent within the PDF, so that electronic processing of the invoice using the structured invoice data - after implementation in the company-specific software system - is possible without any problems.

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 it.

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.

B2G e-Invoicing status at the regional level in Germany

As a result of the decentralized nature of the German billing system, its establishment has had a different development in each federal state.

Each Land published its own transposition of the European Directive via a decree-law regulating communication systems, formats, and entry points for e-invoicing with regional and communal public administrations. The final deadline for publishing these decrees was 18 April 2020. 

The federal states can choose whether to follow the CIUS model or prepare their own e-invoicing standard. They are also free to choose whether they want to leverage the central government’s ZRE platform or use a different system. The only requirement on the Länder is that if they roll out their own web service they must offer a Peppol connection, too.

B2G e-Invoicing in Baden-Württemberg

  • Transposition via law E-Government-Gesetz Baden-Württemberg (EgovG BW).
  • Local regulation:  E-Rechnungsverordnung Baden-Württemberg (ErechVOBW).
  • Reception of electronic invoices through a central portal.
  • The channels of communication are: web upload, e-mail, and through the Peppol network. 
  • The allowed standards are XRechnung and CEN-compatible ones.
  • Public providers must issue e-invoices except invoices up to an amount of 1.000€ and invoices from and to municipalities / municipal associations.


B2G e-Invoicing in Bavaria

  • Transposition via law Bayerisches E-Goverment Gesetz (BayEGovG).
  • Local regulation:  Bayrische E-Government Verordnung - BayEGovV.
  • Invoice reception  Is decentralized.
  • The allowed standards are XRechnung and CEN-compatible ones.


B2G e-Invoicing in Lower Saxony


B2G e-Invoicing in Berlin


B2G e-Invoicing in Brandenburg

  • Transposition via law Brandenburgeisches E-Government-Gesetz (BbgEGovG).
  • Local regulation: Verordnung über die elektronische Rechnungsstellung bei öffentlichen Aufträgen.
  • Invoice reception via the OZG-RE platform.
  • The possible communication channels are: Web capture, web upload, e-mail, DE-mail and PEPPOL.
  • The allowed standards are XRechnung and CEN-compatible ones.


B2G e-Invoicing in Bremen


B2G e-Invoicing in Hessen


B2G e-Invoicing in Hamburg


B2G e-Invoicing in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

  • Transposition via law E-Government-Gesetz Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (EgovG M-V) – not yet passed: Draft presented.
  • Legal Decree ERechV Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
  • Invoice reception via the OZG-RE platform.
  • The possible communication channels are: portal, e-mail and Peppol.
  • The allowed standards are XRechnung and CEN-compatible ones.


B2G e-Invoicing in Saxony


B2G e-Invoicing in Saarland

  • Transposition via law “E-Government-Gesetz Saarland (EGovSL)
  • Local regulation: E-rechnungsverordnung Saarlabd (E-RechVO SL)
  • Invoice reception via Rhineland-Palatinate’s portal ZRW-RLP (co-utilisation)
  • The possible communication channels are: Web upload, e-mail, in future Peppol.
  • The allowed standards are XRechnung and CEN-compatible ones.


B2G e-Invoicing in North Rhine-Westphalia


B2G e-Invoicing in Rhineland-Palatinate

  • Transposition via law E-Government-Gesetz Rheinland-Pfalz (ERechGRP).
  • Local regulation: E-Rechnungs-Verordnung RLP, not yet legislated/in force.
  • Central invoice receipt portal for federal state ZRE RLP (E-Rechnungsportal Rheinland-Pfalz.
  • The possible communication channels are: web upload, e-mail, in the future web service with  PEPPOL.
  • The allowed standards are XRechnung and CEN-compatible ones.


B2G e-Invoicing in Saxony-Anhalt

  • Transposition via law E-Rechnungsgesetz Sachsen-Anhalt - ERG LSA.
  • Local regulation: E-Rechnungsverordnung LSA.
  • Central invoice receipt portal for federal state (E-Rechnungsportal).
  • The possible communication channels are: web capture, e-mail, and Peppol.
  • The allowed standards are XRechnung and CEN-compatible ones.


B2G e-Invoicing in Schleswig-Holstein


B2G e-Invoicing in Thuringia

e-Invoicing solutions in Germany

EDICOM, a tech partner specializing in EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and e-Invoicing, offers a data transformation and communications solution to issue invoices in line with the specifications of public administrations. The solution is equally valid for B2B relations.

EDICOM has developed the global e-Invoicing platform with a multistandard capacity, making it possible to format any data into the UBL, XRechnung, or ZUGFeRD standards defined by the German authorities.

EDICOM’s solution ensures the creation, storage, and transmission of electronic documents according to German law, it issues and receives e-invoices with through a solution integrated with the company's ERP system.

EDICOM is also certified as a Peppol Access Point, guaranteeing connection not only with German government agencies but any public administration in Europe.

One of the platform’s services is its constant update process: EDICOM actively manages know-how to keep its solution permanently up to date with the regulatory changes periodically occurring in the different countries where solutions are offered. This includes formats, reporting processes, communications, signatures, etc., making it a solution that is adaptable to any new requirements in the rollout of the German e-invoice.

EDICOM participates in the Directory Service Working Group (Arbeitskreis Verzeichnisdienst) with the members of the Association of Electronic Invoices (VeR)

EDICOM has been a member of the VeR (Verband elektronischer Rechnung) since 2018, with the goal of having direct information about the advances in Germany regarding electronic invoices. 

The working group is made up of various e-invoicing suppliers in the country and was created to analyze and work on a proposal to create a directory called “Leitweg-ID. This directory will facilitate electronic processes for clients and suppliers as well as the public administrations at all levels of government. 

The group has presented a new proposal to the VeR-Hauptversammlung (General Assembly) to promote and support the implementation of this project. 

EDICOM News Global | Find out more about Electronic Invoicing

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