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eInvoicing in Portugal
Since 1 January 2004, with the entry into force of Decreto-Lei n° 256/2003 of 21 October 2003, contracting authorities can receive and process electronic invoices (eInvoices).
The Decreto-Lei n° 256/2003 regulates the technical conditions for the submission, processing and archiving of eInvoices. It recommends the use of eInvoicing in the context of the simplification of public administrations.
The Lei nº 96/2015 regulates the access and use of certified public electronic procurement (eProcurement) management solutions, establishing the necessary requirements and conditions to enable interoperability with public centralised systems and platforms.
The Public Procurement Code (Código dos Contratos Públicos) regulates the use of eInvoices in public procurement. A public consultation took place until 10 October 2016 to update this legal instrument to, among other objectives, transpose the Directive 2014/55/EU. The article 299°- B mandates that all contracting authorities must only receive eInvoices compliant to the European standard on electronic invoicing.
eInvoicing platform and management solutions
According to the Public Procurement Code (Código dos Contratos Públicos), all public procurement processes should preferably be performed electronically. Electronic procurement processes are supported and managed by different entities using diverse management systems and platforms.
In use since 1 November 2009, Portal BASE is an online platform that enables the processing of contracts in the context of public procurement both in the pre- and post-award processes. This platform is managed by the public entity Instituto dos Mercados Públicos do Imobiliário e da Construção (IMPIC) and developed by the service providers Full IT and the Instituto de Novas Tecnologias.
The information available via this portal is the result of the connection between the publication of tenders (communicated by Imprensa Nacional – Casa da Moeda), the different certified public eProcurement management solutions and the contracting authorities. The main purposes of the platform are the following:
- Centralisation of information and procedures on public procurement;
- Dissemination of tenders and other contracting procedures;
- Dissemination of technical contents and relevant legislation; and
- Enhancement of transparency by enabling dissemination of information about public expenditure.
The Plataforma Eletrónica de Compras, managed by the public administration Entidade de Serviços Partilhados da Administração Pública (eSPap) and developed by the service provider Vortal, is a central online platform that manages public eProcurement processes, including eInvoicing, in the context of the framework contracts established by eSPap. This platform was developed in a shared services approach with the following objectives:
- To ensure the quality and delivery of services with the integration, optimisation and harmonisation of processes;
- To reduce operational costs by sharing common solutions and reduce administrative efforts; and
- To share information, resources and tools among public administrations.
Approach for receiving and processing
Central, regional and local public authorities can use the Portal BASE platform to process contracts in the context of public procurement. This portal connects public eProcurement management solutions that process the administrative steps throughout the public procurement processes, including eInvoicing. These public eProcurement management solutions are operated by different service providers under the licence from IMPIC, supervised by the Centro de Gestão da Rede Informática do Governo (CEGER) and technically accredited by the Gabinete Nacional de Segurança (GNS).
There are five certified public eProcurement management solutions that connect to Portal BASE: acinGov, anoGov, ComprasPT, saphetygov and VORTAL Gov. These management solutions guarantee end-to-end processes where eInvoices are launched, sent and archived electronically with full ERP system integration. Contracting authorities should acquire a certified public eProcurement management solution. Economic operators can freely choose which certified management solution to use.
In the context of the shared services managed by eSPap, there are several platforms and systems in place to manage the public eProcurement processes at central, regional and local public authorities' level:
- The Sistema Nacional de Compras Públicas (SNCP), which enables the registry of pre-qualified suppliers to deliver goods and/or services to public administrations and contracting authorities who can freely subscribe to the eSPap services;
- The Catálogo Nacional de Compras Públicas (CNCP), available to entities that integrate SNCP, lists all the goods and services mandated in the framework agreements established by eSPap;
- The Plataforma Eletrónica de Compras, a cost-free platform that enables the launch and management of all public procurement processes, including eInvoicing, in the context of the framework agreements established by eSPap.
Currently in the pilot phase for the implementation of the Directive 2014/55/EU, the shared service platform Plataforma Eletrónica de Compras enables suppliers to submit eInvoices in the required format to central, regional and local contracting authorities via eSPap that then validates, processes and archives them.
The Instituto Português da Qualidade (IPQ) established a technical committee for the follow up on the activities performed at European level by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Commission. This committee brings together public and private entities to support and prepare the compliance with the Directive 2014/55/EU and the European standard on eInvoicing. It is constituted by public and private entities such as GS1 Portugal, itSMF (Associação Portuguesa de Gestores de Serviços TI), among 20 other entities.