The European standard on eInvoicing defines which code lists may be used for each business term that has the data type "code". The two code lists are the Electronic Address Scheme code list and the VAT Exemption Reasons code list.
These code lists are managed by different organisations, one of them use to be the CEF eInvoicing team of the European Commission. While the CEF programme ended in 2021, eInvoicing code lists will be maintained under the Digital European Programme (successor of CEF) from January 2022. Consequently, the DIGITAL eInvoicing team will take over the management of the code lists' maintenance from January 2022 onwards. This page provides information about the two above-mentioned code lists, a list of other codes issued from other code lists (under the responsibility of other organisations) usable in invoices that are compliant with the EN 16931.
You should register on the dedicated page in the eInvoicing User Community to receive email notifications for each update.
Electronic Address Scheme code list (EAS)
The European eInvoicing standard is designed to be neutral as to the method of transmitting electronic invoices. Because of this, the standard does not directly support specific message transmission services or network details. However, it does provide for an identifier that can be used to identify a receiver in a given transmission service or a network. When an identifier is used for this purpose as an information element in the body of an eInvoice, it is called the electronic address identifier. The electronic address identifier may be used by trading parties and their service providers in varying ways to support the identification and routing of messages depending on their chosen transmission method or network. The Electronic Address Scheme (EAS) code list defined by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF, former Commission's programme) does not imply or recommend any particular delivery mechanism or standard.
The European eInvoicing standard allows the use of electronic address identifiers from any identifier scheme relevant for electronic addressing. To identify the scheme that an identifier is based on, the invoice that includes an electronic address identifier must also indicate that scheme via a code defined in a specific code list. In the course of defining the European eInvoicing standard, this code list was left undefined, and its development and maintenance were assigned to the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), now replaced by the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL). CEF has defined and published this code list under the name Electronic Address Scheme code list, abbreviated as EAS code list.
The European eInvoicing standard defines the following business terms:
- "Seller electronic address", BT-34, that identifies the Seller's electronic address to which an application level response to the invoice may be delivered.
- "Buyer electronic address", BT-49, that identifies the Buyer's electronic address to which the invoice is delivered.
Both of these business terms are optional but when they are used then, in order to ensure the uniqueness of each identifier, the electronic invoice must indicate what identifier scheme each of them is based on. This is done by providing a scheme identifier in the form of a code from the EAS code list. An electronic address identifier is typically used to identify a party within a given transport service/network. Establishing what transport service/network shall be used is not within the scope of the eInvoicing standard and neither is an identification of the transport service/network. While an electronic address, as defined in the eInvoicing standard may be used as a component in a full network address it is itself not a network or routing address.
Most other identifiers in the eInvoicing standard can also be based on different identifiers schemes according to the International Code Designator (ICD) code list. When the same identifier scheme is allowed in both the ICD and the EAS code list, it shall use the same code value. Consequently, such codes must first be registered in the ICD code list and then requested to be added to the EAS code list. The EAS code list may also include other identifiers schemes that are specific for electronic addressing, such as emails, Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and other Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI). For details on this procedure of requesting changes to the EAS code list, please contact the DIGITAL Service Desk.
Examples using the EAS code list
Example 1: if an electronic address for an invoice receiver (buyer) is given in a UBL or Cross-industry invoice syntax by using a GLN identifier then the identifier scheme attribute of the relevant syntax element can be used to inform that it is a GLN identifier by using the relevant EAS code for GLN. The EAS code for the GLN identifier scheme is 0088.
Electronic address value (the GLN identifier): 5790000435944
Scheme identifier value: 0088
Example 2: An electronic address for an invoice sender (seller) is provided as a SMTP email such as firstname.lastname@example.org. The structure of a typical SMTP email address is based on a scheme (i.e. SMPT) which can be identified by using the EAS code EM.
Electronic address value: email@example.com
Scheme identifier value: EM
The EAS code list download
Register or request changes
Maintenance and support services for the EAS code list are available to our stakeholders through the DIGITAL Service Desk (until 2021, the requests were handled by the CEF Service Desk), where the submitter can ask questions and submit requests for new codes to be added to the next version of the list or modifications to existing codes. Requests for addition of new codes can be made by anyone who can demonstrate a current or intended use of that identification scheme in an existing message transmission solution that the requester is directly involved in. Modifications and deletions can be initiated by the original requester.
Information about key concepts in electronic transmission may also be found in the document EMSFEI report on Interoperability and transmission (PDF).
New versions of the code list will be published on a regular 6-month cycle. Each revision cycle constitutes the following steps.
- A deadline for each planned version is published by DIGITAL.
- RfCs received by the DIGITAL Service Desk before the deadline are evaluated by DIGITAL and accepted or rejected.
- A new version of the code list is published on the DIGITAL digital portal about two weeks after the published deadline for RfCs.
Following the publication of a new version of the code list, the changes will need to be adopted into the validation artefacts of the EN 16931 as well as other implementations of the eInvoicing standard to become fully effective.
exemption reason code list (VATEX)VAT
The European standard on electronic invoicing (EN16931) defines the business term "VAT exemption reason code" (BT-121). This optional code allows sellers to state in a coded way the reason for a VAT exemption in order to support automation of VAT processing and reporting. This code may be used instead of a textual description of VAT exemption reasons (BT-120) or to complement it.
DG GROW and its advisory body from the Member States, the Multi-Stakeholder Forum on eInvoicing (EMSFEI), recognised that the VATEX code list must provide for exemption reasons allowed by the VAT Directive 112/2006 as well as exemption reasons allowed in Member State legislation.
How to use the VATEX code list
The VATEX codes are of two main types:
- codes that identify specific articles in the European VAT Directive 2006/112
- codes that identify exemption reasons based on Member State legislation.
The issuer of the invoice is responsible for correctly determining whether an item can be exempted from VAT. The exemption reason must be based on the relevant legislation. The appropriate VATEX code can then be used to identify that legislative reason. The VATEX code list cannot be used by itself as a basis for a tax decision.
The VATEX code list download
The addition or removal of a code constitutes a new major version. A minor version only includes editorial changes to code metadata. A new version will be published every 6 months.
Register or request changes
Changes to the VATEX code list may be requested by submitting a Request for Change (RfC) through the DIGITAL Service Desk.
- Codes directly referring to the VAT Directive can be requested by anybody.
- Country-specific VATEX codes can only be requested by a relevant country TAX authority.
Further information and assistance
Maintenance and support services for the VATEX code list are available to our stakeholders through the DIGITAL Service Desk, where the submitter can ask questions and submit new codes to be added to the new version of the list.
Full listing of the code lists as used in EN16931
The European eInvoicing standard EN 16931 specifies what code list shall be used for each of the code elements in the standard. How the code lists are used differs. In some cases, the code lists are used in full and in some cases a subset of the code list is used. It also varies whether the set of codes allowed in the eInvoicing standard is fixed by the standard or if that may change as the code lists are updated by their relevant governing authorities. When the allowed codes are not fixed, the rule is that the most recent version of the code list is allowed.
Since different governing authorities maintain their code lists on different schedules and because any change in allowed codes needs to be supported in the implementation of the standard in ERP systems and in validation artefacts, DIGITAL has taken on the responsibility to periodically review what updates have been made to the code lists and publish in one place what codes are to be allowed and supported in the eInvoicing standard from that point in time.
The following spreadsheet contains the list of the code that are allowed in the eInvoicing standard from the date of the spreadsheets publication. The spreadsheet is not intended to be a full publication of the code lists, only a listing of the allowed codes values along with the name of the code for easier reference. The official publication of each code list typically contains more details about the code lists themselves and individual codes in them and shall be used directly and in conjunction with the specification of the eInvoicing standard when deciding what code is appropriate in a given business case. Further information about the code lists can be found in Annex A to the EN 16931-1 of the eInvoicing standard.