Action 11: Member States to transpose the VAT Directive

What is the problem? Different national VAT rules for paper and electronic invoices

Member States have adopted various domestic rules which govern the validity and acceptability of eInvoices within their own countries. This makes it difficult to use eInvoicing across the EU.

Compared to paper invoices, eInvoices offer huge advantages for companies. They can be processed more quickly and cheaply as there are no postal delays or costs. The mass adoption of e-invoicing within the EU could generate savings of around € 240 billion over a six-year period.

Why is EU action needed? To extend the benefits of eInvoicing to cross-border transactions

The European market for electronic payments and eInvoicing is still fragmented (see also action 7). Only in an integrated payment market will it be possible for enterprises and consumers to rely on safe and efficient online payment methods.

What has the Commission done so far?

On 13 July 2010 the Council adopted a Directive (2010/45/EU amending Directive 2006/112/EC) which sets out new VAT rules for e-invoicing and removes the obstacles to the uptake of e-invoicing by creating equal treatment between paper and e-invoices, while also ensuring that no additional requirements are imposed on paper invoices.

What will Member States do?

Member States are obliged to transpose this Directive into national law by 1st January 2013.