France transposes new EU E-invoicing Directive to national law

January 30, 2013  |  Electronic Invoicing, Europe, Legal

Ok. This sounds a bit odd. We all thought that as the new EU E-invoicing Directive came into force on January 1st, 2013 it would immediately apply to all member states of the EU. Well, to be true; not quite.

There are two transposition systems in the EU. The first one is that of direct transposition like the one in the Netherlands. The other one is a system where a national law has to affirm that a EU law comes into effect. That is the way it works in France.

In short, this what we learned from KPMG:

  • Measures contained in EU Directive 2010/45/EC—with respect to rules on invoicing—have been transposed into French law, effective 1 January 2013.
  • The provisions contained in the new national French law (“Third Corrective Finance Bill for 2012”) provide parity or equal treatment to paper and electronic invoices under French tax law.
  • The new law affirms the validity of the two existing methods already allowed under French law—tax-compliant EDIs (electronic data interchange) and electronic signatures.
  • New invoice law also allows businesses to use any (and this sounds a bit odd to us) other technical invoicing solution , provided that they set up documentation and controls and establish a “reliable audit trail” between the issued / received invoice and the underlying supply of goods or services.
  • There are also rules for archiving and rules providing the tax authorities with complete access to the electronic invoicing system when stored abroad.

The French tax authorities have indicated that, in early 2013, they will issue draft guidelines concerning the format and conditions under which they would consider new electronic formats as compliant.

Source: France - New rules for e-invoices provide business opportunities (KPMG)

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  1. Using tax compliant EDIs and electronic signatures on PDF is sufficient to French tax administration to demonstrate both the integrity (its contents cannot be altered) and the authenticity (its issuer’s identity is guaranteed).

    However, French law also mentions that a “reliable audit trail” is required in any case to prove the legibility of invoices (paper or electronic even).

    So depending on what a controller would be looking for, this audit trail is potentially becoming non optional…

  2. Thank you Simon for your comment.

    What do you mean with: “this audit trail is potentially becoming non optional…”


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