Mandatory XML e-invoicing towards Dutch central agencies as from 1 January 2017

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has decided that for all contracts signed after 1 January 2017, only XML electronic invoices from suppliers will be accepted.

The Dutch government expects the change to eInvoicing to help it save about EUR 10 million, it explained in a letter to Parliament, as well as to reduce bureaucracy, to prevent fraud and to simplify government.

And also, by making e-invoicing mandatory, the Dutch government hopes to encourage other municipalities, provinces and water management organisations to switch as well. As these are not yet obliged to do so.


Preparations for a switch to eInvoicing go back many years. In 2009, for example, the tax rules were changed to make electronic invoices possible. In 2011, the government started Digipoort, an online and central messaging portal that allows suppliers to send invoices electronically. In 2015, the government agreed with trade groups and public administrations to encourage a switch to eInvoicing.

The two Dutch central government standards for electronic invoices are currently UBL OHNL, (a UBL dialect, aimed at e-invoices for goods and services), and SETU OHNL for temporary staff recruitment. To be subsituted by the new EU TC434 standard (and syntaxes).

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