Spanish Government approves the Bill for Business Creation and Growth: one step closer to mandatory e-invoicing

Bill for Business Creation and Growth: introduction

On 11/30/2021 the Spanish Government approved in the Council of Ministers the Bill for Business Creation and Growth, which will now be sent to the Congress of Deputies. On July the Draft Bill for Business Creation and Growth had already been published. This law aims to “promote productive investment, innovation and modernisation of companies, with regulatory reforms to improve the business climate and promote entrepreneurship throughout the territory.”

One of the most anticipated elements of this bill is the mandatory use of electronic invoicing between companies and freelance professionals as an essential tool to promote digitalisation in companies and mitigate delinquency in commercial operations.

This measure has important implications at the administrative level for businesses. It ushers in a significant change in how billing is managed for companies and freelance professionals who will now be required to use electronic invoicing in all their transactions.

When will the use of e-invoicing be mandatory?

The measure will be implemented in two phases, depending on the company’s level of invoicing:

  • Companies and freelance professionals with an annual level of invoicing of over 8 million euros have the obligation to apply this measure within one year of the publication of the law in the BOE.
  • All other companies have the obligation to apply this measure within three years of the publication of the law in the BOE.

At the moment, it is a bill. These terms won’t go into effect until the law is approved and published in the BOE in Spain.

Essential characteristics of e-invoicing

Despite the fact that technical instructions regarding the measure have not yet been published, the following characteristics of electronic invoicing should be noted:

  • Content: the content of an electronic invoice has to be the same as that of a physical invoice, according to electronic invoicing regulations (i.e. Royal Decree 1619/2012, of November 30). 
  • Access: companies and freelance professionals have to facilitate access so that recipients can view, download and print invoices for free. 
  • Time: maintain access to electronic invoices issued in the last 4 years, even when the contractual relationship has dissolved.

Requirements and incentives 

The draft bill states that compliance with the mandatory use of electronic invoicing will be a requirement for companies to access subsidies and aid, as well as public contracts.

To alleviate the costs of complying with this mandate​​, the government is putting together a financial aid program for SMEs and freelance professionals with the aim of facilitating the implementation of the technology needed to invoice electronically. You can learn more about the Digital Toolkit Program here.

Current electronic invoicing regulations in Spain

Electronic invoicing has a long legislative history in Spain, with a number of relevant milestones:

  • Since 2003 it is possible to invoice electronically in Spain with full legal and fiscal validity as a result of Royal Decree 1496/2003.
  • In 2012, Royal Decree 1619/2012 entered into force, and the use of electronic signature is no longer mandatory for an electronic invoice to be valid. This measure took technological complexity out of the equation as an obstacle for invoicing electronically. 
  • In 2015, the Law to promote electronic invoicing and the creation of the accounting record of invoices for the Public Sector (Law 27/13) entered into force, which makes it mandatory to send electronic invoices to clients of the public administration. FACe was also created in 2015, as well as the other entry points that allow public administration offices to receive invoices.
  • In 2018, electronic invoicing in Spain was reinforced with the entry into force of the Public Sector Contract Law (Law 9/2017) and the creation of FACeB2B, a General Entry Point for Electronic Invoices between Companies. FACeB2B was created to promote electronic invoicing between private companies, offering a free central hub that connects providers of electronic invoicing solutions.

The European Union

In Europe, the first legislation in this regard was Directive 2014/55/EU on electronic invoicing in public procurement. This Directive requires all public administration offices in the EU to be prepared to receive electronic invoices in accordance with a standard format (European format EN16931) and through a single channel (PEPPOL) beginning on April 18, 2019. Local public administration offices had the option of deferring compliance for one year, until April 2020.

PEPPOL (Pan European Public Procurement Online) is an electronic distribution network that makes cross-border electronic invoicing easier for companies in both the public and private spheres.

This standardisation represents an important step forward for the European Single Market since it facilitates issuing and receiving electronic invoices throughout the EU.

As a result of efforts made by the European Commission to introduce and accept the implementation of electronic invoicing, the EU has distinguished itself as a benchmark in the use of electronic invoicing. It is also important to note that Italian and Spanish companies remain at the forefront of introducing B2B electronic invoicing.

Ultimately, these steps have demonstrated that the EU and Spain have a clear vision of the importance of facilitating electronic invoicing moving forward.

Benefits of e-invoicing with Docuten

There are many benefits of electronic invoicing as compared to invoicing on paper. Here are just some of the multitud advantages:

Decreased operating costs

Electronic invoicing means less expenses and a significant reduction in time spent on administrative tasks.

Handling invoicing electronically means that your finance and admin departments spend much less time preparing, receiving and storing paperwork. 

Plus, eliminating the use of printing and filing materials (and the cost of the time your workers dedicate) translates to significant cost savings.

Reduced errors

Human error is a big problem when handling invoice management manually. With electronic invoicing, it is reduced to a minimum since much of the process is done automatically. When using Docuten, errors are detected before issuing invoices so that they can be corrected prior to sending which saves time and helps you get paid faster.

Information in real time

The automatic flow of issuing and receiving invoices lets you stay on top of the status of each invoice in a matter of seconds. Through the platform’s notifications, both the sender and receiver are informed of the invoice’s status at all times, which makes communication more fluid and improves the provider-client relationship. 

Better document control

Docuten stores and saves your invoices during the period of time required by law, so there are no problems down the road regarding non-compliance with electronic invoicing regulations.

In addition, thanks to features like advanced search, you can locate any invoice in a matter of minutes. Digitally storing all issued and received invoices on a single platform prevents the loss of important documentation and enables you to manage invoicing in a more agile way.

Full legal validity

Electronic invoicing is a completely legal and secure solution. For an electronic invoice to be valid, the Invoicing Regulation (Royal Decree 1619/2012, of November 30 _ BOE of December 1) requires the issuer to guarantee, from the date of issue and throughout the entire conservation period, the integrity of its content and its readability.

When using Docuten these conditions are guaranteed since we are on the official list of electronic invoicing solutions of the European Union, which makes us an authorised provider for electronic invoicing at the European level. At the state level, Docuten is a provider of invoicing services verified by the General State Administration.

Connect with all relevant channels and formats

Docuten facilitates the sending and receiving of invoices for both public and private clients through national channels like FACe and FACeB2B, and international channels, like PEPPOL. We are also connected with all the General Entry Points of public administration offices in Spain.

Additionally, Docuten enables clients to use all the main invoicing formats: Facturae, signed PDF invoices (PAdES) or UBL/CII. All formats are legally compliant and valid.

If you have any further questions on electronic invoicing regulations, e-invoice compliance, or Docuten’s electronic invoicing solutions, feel free to contact our team.