Characteristics of the electronic invoice in Germany

Germany implemented e-Invoicing in public administrations according to a timeline that made B2G invoicing mandatory in the federated states. The progress of e-invoicing adoption depends on each individual federal state (Bundesland) issuing its legal decree, outlining the regulations for communication systems, formats, and entry points. The only universal requirement is that e-invoicing must be accessible through Peppol in all cases.

 

In the B2B sphere, the "Bundesrat" passed the Wachstumschancengesetz on March 22, 2024, under which B2B e-Invoicing will also become mandatory.

Tax Authority

Tax Authority

Bundesministerium der Finanzen (BMF).

 

B2G: Each federal state (Land) assumes its own responsibility. 

Obligation

Obligation

B2G: Since April 18, 2020, German federal states have been mandated to accept B2G e-invoices in compliance with European Directive 2014/55/EU. 

 

B2B: For e-Invoice reception, all companies must be able to receive electronic invoices starting from January 2025. Regarding e-Invoicing submission, B2B e-invoicing will become mandatory, starting in January 2027 for companies with more than 800,000 € turnover and in January 2028 for companies with less than 800,000 € turnover.

Format

Format

B2G: XRechnung, ZUGFeRD from version 2.0.1.

 

B2B: XRechnung, ZUGFeRD from version 2.0.1. Other formats (XML, EDIFACT, etc.) provided they are compatible with the EN16931 format.

Digital Signature

Digital Signature

Not mandatory.

Archiving

Archiving

10+1 years.

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The electronic invoice in the German federal states

Since april 18th, 2020, all German states are required to accept electronic invoices. Each federal state can implement the directive according to its own regulation, but the e-Invoicing system and formats must comply with the ones defined in Directive 2014/55/EU. Get to know the current status of the electronic invoice implementation in each federal state.

Gesetz

E-Goverment Gesetzes

Verordnung

Annahmepflicht

  • Oberschwellig: Gemäß EU-Richtlinie
  • Unterschwellig: Ja
  • Ausnahmen: Nicht bekannt

Ausstellungspflicht

Ja, seit dem 27.11.2020

  • Ausnahmen: Für Rechnungen mit geheimhaltungsbedürftigen Daten, Rechnungen von Direktaufträgen bis zu einem Betrag von 1 000 Euro.

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-konforme Formate

Adressierung

Leitweg-ID

Zentraler Rechnungseingang

Über Rechnungseingangsplattformen:

  • Zentrale Rechnungseingangsplattform des Bundes (ZRE) für die Behörden unmittelbare Bundesverwaltung 
  • Rechnungseingangsplattform OZG-RE für Behörden der mittelbaren Bundesverwaltung 

Übertragungsweg

Weberfassung, Webupload, E-Mail, DE-Mail, PEPPOL

Law

Berliner E-Rechnungsgesetz (BERG)

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation, starting from 16.04.2020
  • Beneath threshold: From 16.04.2020
  • Exceptions: Contracts requiring secrecy

Obligation to issue

No obligation

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID (BT-10)

Invoice reception

Federal state invoice portal OZG-RE

Transmission path

Web capture, web upload, email, DE-Mail, Peppol

Law

E-Rechnungsgesetz Sachsen-Anhalt - ERG LSA

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Yes
  • Exceptions: Security specific orders

Obligation to issue

Unknown

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID

Invoice reception

Landeseigenes E-Rechnungsportal

Transmission path

Web capture, e-mail, DE-Mail, Peppol

Law

E-Government-Gesetz Rheinland-Pfalz (ERechGRP)

Regulation

  • Denomination: E-Rechnungs-Verordnung RLP
  • Legislated: In coordination
  • In force on: Unknown

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Yes

Obligation to issue

Planned, from 01.01.2024 

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID

Invoice reception

Central Invoice Portal of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate ZRE RLP (E-Invoice Portal Rhineland-Palatinate)

Transmission path

Webupload, e-mail, later also Peppol 

Law

Brandenburgeisches E-Government-Gesetz (BbgEGovG)

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation
  • Beneath threshold:
    • For federal state obligatory from 1.4.2020 
    • For communal authority obligatory from 1.1.2025 
  • Exceptions: Contracts requiring secrecy

Obligation to issue

No obligation

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID

Invoice reception

Federal state invoice portal OZG-RE

Transmission path

Web capture, web upload, e-mail, Peppol

Law

Gesetz über digitale Verwaltung und Informationssicherheit (NDIG)

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Yes

Obligation to issue

Unknown

Format

  • XRechnung

Addressing

Leitweg-ID (BT-10)

Invoice reception

Central e-post office

Transmission path

Web upload, e-mail; web capture, from 18.04.2022 also Peppol 

Law

E-Government-Gesetz Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (EgovG M-V)

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Unknown

Obligation to issue

From 01.04.2023

Exceptions

  • Security-relevant orders with invoice data requiring secrecy
  • Other procurements abroad 

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Routing ID when using OZG-RE 

Invoice reception

Federal state invoice portal OZG-RE

Transmission path

Portal, E-Mail, Peppol 

Law

Thüringer E-Government-Gesetz (ThürEGovG)

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Yes

Obligation to issue

No obligation

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID (BT-10)

Invoice reception

Federal state invoice portal OZG-RE

Transmission path

Web capture, web upload, e-mail, Peppol

Law

E-Government-Gesetz Baden-Württemberg (EgovG BW)

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation
  • Beneath threshold: Only for federal state level, not for communal authorities
  • Exceptions: Invoices with confidential data

Obligation to issue

  • From 01.01.2020
  • Exceptions: Invoices up to an amount of 1,000 euro 

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID

Invoice reception

Federal state invoice portal Service Portal Baden-Württemberg 

Transmission path

Webupload, e-mail, in future also Peppol

Law

Gesetz zur Weiterentwicklung des digitalen Finanzmanagements in Hamburg und zur Änderung haushaltsrechtlicher Vorschriften

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Yes
  • Exceptions
    • Direct awards up to a contract value of 1,000 euros
    • Security-related contracts with accounting data requiring secrecy
    • Foreign service matters 

Obligation to issue

From 01.01.2022

Exceptions: Invoices up to an amount of 1,000 euros

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID (List of Hamburg Routing IDs)

Invoice reception

Central invoice receipt portal of the country (E-Rechunungsportal)

Transmission path

Peppol, E-Mail

Law

Landesverwaltungsgesetz - LVwG

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Only for federal state level, not for communal authorities
  • Exceptions: Contracts requiring secrecy

Obligation to issue

No obligation

Format

  • Until 17.04.2020 only ZUGFeRD 2.0
  • From 18.04.2020 XRechnung

Addressing

Leitweg-ID (BT-10)

Invoice reception

Federal state invoice portal  Landeseigene E-Rechungsportal 

Transmission path

E-mail, DE-Mail, Web Service, Peppol

Law

E-Government-Gesetz Nordrhein-Westfalen (EGovNRW)

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Yes
  • Exceptions: Security specific orders

Obligation to issue

No obligation

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID (BT-10)

Invoice reception

Invoice portal of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (vergabe.NRW)

Transmission path

Weberfassung, E-Mail, DE-Mail, Peppol

Law

Sächsisches E-Government -Gesetz

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Unknown
  • Exceptions: Orders subject to secrecy 

Obligation to issue

Unknown

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID

Invoice reception

Federal state invoice portal OZG-RE

Transmission path

Web capture, e-mail, DE-Mail, web service, Peppol

Law

Gesetz zur Förderung der elektronischen Verwaltung in Bremen

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Since 2018 for regional and local authorities in Bremen and Bremerhaven
  • Beneath threshold: From November 2019 for companies and establishments of FHB

Obligation to issue

From 27.11.2020

Exceptions

  • Cash and immediate payment
  • Direct orders (Beneath threshold)
  • Contracts requiring secrecy 
  • Rare exemption (on request)

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID (BT-10)

Invoice reception

Central invoice receipt portal of the country zERIKA 

Transmission path

Web capture, web upload, email, DE-Mail, Peppol

Law

E-Government-Gesetz Saarland (EGovSL)

Regulation

  • Denomination: E-Rechnungsverordnung Saarland (E-RechVO SL)
  • Legislated: 09.07.2020
  • In force on: 31.07.2020

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Yes

Obligation to issue

From 01.01.2022

Exceptions: With an order value of more than 1.000 Euro

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Leitweg-ID

Invoice reception

Cooperation with Rhineland-Palatinate for the use of the ZRE RLP

Transmission path

Webupload, e-mail, later also Peppol 

Law

Bayerisches E-Goverment Gesetz (BayEGovG)

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation
  • Beneath threshold: From 1,000 EUR 
  • Exceptions: Construction contracts limited until April 18, 2023

Obligation to issue

No obligation

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

Not planned. Routing ID is issued by the competent authority in the state administration (ordering party) to the biller as required

Invoice reception

Decentralized invoice receipt

Transmission path

e-mail

Law

E-Rechnungs-Verordnung Hessen

Regulation

Obligation to accept

  • Above threshold: Compliant to EU-Legislation 
  • Beneath threshold: Yes
  • Exceptions
    • Hardship cases and security-specific matters
    • Direct contracts without award procedures up to an amount of 1000 euros 

Obligation to issue

From 18.04.2024

Format

  • XRechnung
  • CEN-compliant formats

Addressing

An identification number must be used, this is done as specified by the customer. This can but does not have to have the routing ID format. 

Invoice reception

Currently not centrally planned.

Transmission path

Initially decentralized transmission channels (e-mail inboxes), if web service is offered, then possibly Peppol.

Federal level

Obligation for the issuer

Obligation

Upcoming obligation (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania from April 1, 2023, Rhineland-Palatinate planned from January 1, 2024,Hesse from April 18, 2024).

No obligation

Invoice reception system

OZG-RE

Federal invoice portal

Decentralized solution

Click in a federal state to get more information

B2B e-Invoicing in Germany

This is how the process works for electronic invoicing between companies in Germany.
1

Issuance

Extraction of the data from the ERP for its transformation into the allowed formats: XRechnung and e-Invoices according to EN16931.

2

Digital Signature

The electronic signature mechanisms can be applied, which provide integrity and authenticity to the electronic invoice.

3

Sending

Once internal validation mechanisms have been applied, the electronic invoice will be sent via the agreed communications protocol (Mail Server, Peppol...).

4

Electronic archiving

Electronic archive of the electronic invoice of the original invoice with high-security conditions and accessibility for the 10 years required by the German legislation.

B2G e-Invoicing in Germany

This is how the process works for electronic invoicing with the public administration in Germany.
1

Issuance and Validation

Extraction of the data from the ERP for its transformation into the allowed formats: XRechnung or ZUGFeRD.

2

Sending

The invoice in electronic format is then delivered to the different receiving platforms. The entry point for receiving electronic invoices from suppliers in Germany at the federal level are the portals ZRE and OZG-RE.

3

Electronic archiving

Electronic archive of the electronic invoice of the original invoice with high-security conditions and accessibility for the 10 years required by the German legislation.

Frequently Asked Questions

XRechnung is one of the electronic invoice formats in Germany. It is an XML document adapted to European Union directives.

The ZUGFeRD (Zentraler User Guide des Forum elektronische Rechnung Deutschland), is another format accepted in Germany. It is a hybrid format composed of a PDF A3 with an encrusted XML conforming to the European standard. 

ZRE is the acronym for the  Zentrales Rechnungseingangsportal des Bundes portal which is the reception portal for electronic invoices received from suppliers to the federal government.

The OZG-RE (Onlinezugangsgesetz-konforme Rechnungseingangsplattform) is a platform through which suppliers and service providers can transmit e-invoices to connected institutions of the indirect federal administration and cooperating federal states.

If you do not have software for creating electronic invoices, you can enter your invoice data into the submission portal via your web browser and then submit this data as an e-invoice. For small numbers of e-invoices, you can upload these to the invoice submission portal. If you need to send high volumes of invoices, you may prefer to use the Peppol web service or email transmission methods.

Related resources

Upcoming Deadlines in Germany

Stay ahead of the key dates on entry into force of tax and e-invoicing obligations around the world.

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