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European Cross Border e-Invoicing Starts in January
21 Jun 2012

From early 2009, businesses in the Netherlands have been able to conduct e-invoicing by e-mail or online.

From 1 January 2013 in all Member States of the European Union shall be permitted to send e-invoices across borders when the European Directive rules on e-invoicing enter into force. This gives European entrepreneurs not only the ability to send electronic invoices, but there are also numerous simplifications made around the tax obligations on an invoice.

What are the benefits of e-invoicing?
The biggest advantage of the e-invoice is obviously cost savings. The entire process takes an average of €6 per piece, while the paper equivalent costs around €30. In addition, automated processing of e-invoices allows for better control of your financial records and a shorter duration of the billing process. Moreover the recipient of an e-invoice can transfer the billing information automatically to heir own systems using software.

What are the requirements of e-invoicing?
To be valid the e-invoice must meet special requirements: the invoice may not have changed (data integrity) and must come from the sender (authenticity). The e-invoice must be original, clearly legible and not distorted. In addition, the e-invoice should be provided with security features such as an electronic signature or an electronic file for exchanging data.

While the e-invoices may be "free form", the requirements of the VAT still apply:  all the information needed on a paper invoice must stand. Seven years archive of all invoices is still required.