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FACTURA-e: Electronic invoicing with the Spanish public administration.

August 2, 2012  |  Electronic Invoicing, Europe, Government

With Directive 2001/115/EC each of the European member states has adopted  (they had to) different approaches to set out a legislative framework for e-invoicing.

Including Spain, which has been characterised in recent years by discrepancies in the requirements for electronic invoicing between the public and private sectors. So, what is deal here? Let’s take a look what’s going in Spain. And take in mind that with the EU E-invoicing liberalisation as from 2013, a lot of things will change in Spain (as in other EU countries)

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Spanish legislation requires high levels of validation for electronic invoicing

Royal Decree 1496/2003 transposed Directive 2001/115/EC in the Spanish jurisdiction. To ensure content integrity and authenticity of origin, it stipulates that the invoice must be transmitted by means of an EDI system and with an electronic
signature.

In addition, the state tightened up the validity conditions for electronic billing by imposing the mandatory use of an acknowledged electronic signature on companies engaged in buying and selling operations in Spanish territory.

Electronic invoicing with the public administration has lower levels of guarantees. At least for now.

Order 2971/2007 regulates general standards whereby bills in electronic format are accepted by the General State Administration and its dependent public bodies.

Article 5 states that an advanced electronic invoice is required to ensure compliance with the integrity and authenticity requisites, thereby relaxing the strict requirements regarding billing in the private business scope, where article 18.1 of Regulation 1496/2003 demands a recognised electronic signature.

The main difference between recognised electronic signature and advanced electronic signature is in the security levels with which the signature holder’s identity is verified. An advanced electronic signature is one where the applicant’s identity is rigorously checked, with the obligation to appear in person to request a recognised certificate.

We find another significant difference between the private and public sectors in the format in which an electronic invoice must be issued. In the general scope, the format is free and the use of a widely-used standard document which is compatible with the receiver’s solution is recommended, such as EDIFACT.

However, the mandatory use of a recognised format such as Factura-e is established for the issuing and sending of invoices with the General State Administration.

Changes due to the EU E-invoicing Liberalisation

The upcoming EU E-invoicing liberalisation as from 1 January 2013 dramatically lowers the guarantees needed for e-invoicing. So as from that date electronic invoicing with the public administration will have higher levels of guarantees relative to B2B e-invoicing.

In the meantime: don’t forget that even though electronic signatures are no obligatory, they could still come in handy.


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