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eInvoicing in Spain
Law 25 / 2013 mandates the use of the electronic invoices as well as an accounting record of invoices in the public sector. It also obliges all public entities to receive all invoices through one common point of entry regardless of their different units and departments. This common point of entry shall be available publicly.
In accordance with this law and as of 15 January 2015, all invoices sent to Public Sector entities must be electronic, should have a structured format (Facturae V3.2.X) and be signed with an electronic signature based on a qualified certificate.
Public administrations shall receive and process invoices electronically; nevertheless, administrations can accept printed invoices under certain circumstances (e.g. if the amount is less than EUR 5 000).
eInvoicing platform and eInvoicing management solutions
The General State Administration offers an eInvoicing entry point (FACe) to all public entities as a free of charge service. The use of FACe is mandatory for the central government and optional for regional and local governments. FACe enables the submission and tracking of eInvoices addressed to thousands of public administrations connected to the system. More than 8000 public administrations use FACe (updated data can be consulted at (OBSAE), including 16 of the 17 autonomous communities, more than 7900 local governments and all of the public organisations of the General State Administration.
Public administration suppliers are free to choose their eInvoicing solution. The electronic invoicing platform FACe can be accessed through open, public and free automated interfaces; which has created a dynamic market of private solutions with high added-value, to allow large companies, the entire banking sector, and many SMEs to provide electronic billing services integrated with the platform. The use of specific eInvoicing solution providers is neither mandatory nor recommended; nevertheless the General State Administration maintains a list of eInvoicing solution providers, all of which fulfill the following conditions: they are connected to FACe through the automated interface of web services available to suppliers and they have submitted electronic invoices through the mentioned interface.
FACeB2B is a new platform (since June 2018) allowing B2B electronic invoicing. It is provided by the government free of charge for any business and it uses the same format and interfaces already in place for B2G invoicing.
Approach for receiving and processing eInvoices
FACe is the single-entry point of eInvoices for central government. Local and regional governments can either develop their own solutions or use a reception system provided by other administrations; in most cases this system will be FACe. Suppliers can retrieve ‘eInvoicing addresses’ of any public administration (even those not connected to FACe) using the directories and query services available in the FACe portal. All eInvoice reception systems are integrated with the Accounting Register of Invoices, which acts as a centralised mechanism of control of the payment process.
Electronic invoicing services provided by FACe can be accessed through the platform’s portal. A web services interface is also provided in order to support direct integration of invoice processing applications. Its services include: directory of financial units and discovery of invoice presentation points, submission of eInvoices and tracking and management of presented eInvoices. Public administration suppliers can create eInvoices using any compliant invoicing application; using an eInvoicing service provider (e.g. banks); or, especially in the case of SMEs processing low volumes of invoices, using the free eInvoicing client software provided by the Spanish Ministry of Industry. This free eInvoicing client software is fully integrated into the FACe platform through the aforementioned web services interface.
This open approach has contributed to the success of eInvoicing in Spain. By December 2018, the FACe system had processed more tan 30 million eInvoices (updated information is available in OBSAE), providing considerable savings for the public and private sector due to the use of a fully automated invoicing process. Specifically, an independent study found savings of EUR 14 million for suppliers and EUR 24 million for public administrations in the first half of 2015 alone (see the news section here).
Status on the implementation of the European Standard on eInvoicing (EN)
The implementation of EN for public entities regarding the obligation of accepting EN eInvoices will be accomplished through the single entry point for eInvoices (FACe). This platform will provide a translation mechanism to the national format (Facturae) allowing any public entity to process EN invoices with the current set of tools and applications.
By the use of FACeB2B any private entity will be also capable of accepting and processing EN eInvoices.
Regarding the outcoming eInvoices, a similar mechanism could be implemented to allow the reverse translation: Facturae to EN.
The Electronic Invoice Forum is responsible for the management of eInvoicing at national level. It includes representatives from both the private and the public sectors. Its responsibilities include:
- Monitoring and analysis of the current situation of eInvoicing;
- Identification of opportunities for improvement and progress towards the full adoption of an eInvoicing in public procurement;
- Promotion of the collaboration of public and private sector organisations in the harmonisation of the technical and functional requirements for eInvoices;
- Ensure that eInvoicing becomes a reality throughout the Spanish public sector;
- The decisions made at meetings of the Electronic Invoice Forum are publicly available.
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