E-invoicing from 2025: chore or efficiency booster?

With the introduction of mandatory e-invoicing as part of the Growth Opportunities Act passed on 22 March 2024, companies in Germany are facing a significant change. However, instead of a bureaucratic nightmare, this change also offers opportunities for increased efficiency and digital transformation. Companies should therefore not view the implementation of the legal requirements as a chore, but rather prepare for the future and optimise processes.

What exactly is an e-invoice?

An electronic invoice (e-invoice) is an invoice document in an electronic format that is exchanged between the seller and buyer. Only an invoice in a structured electronic format that can be processed automatically is considered an e-invoice.

Other electronic invoices, such as pure PDF documents, are no longer considered electronic invoices, but are placed on the same level as paper invoices.

In the context of the Growth Opportunities Act, e-invoices in the B2B environment must fulfil certain requirements set out in the European standard EN16931. In Germany, the XRechnung or ZUGFeRD format from version 2.0.1. is frequently used.

Why is e-invoicing becoming mandatory?

The introduction of mandatory electronic invoicing in the European Union is primarily aimed at harmonising invoicing and increasing transparency in payment transactions. Harmonised standards simplify business transactions and reduce administrative costs.

Another aim is to combat VAT fraud more effectively.

When will it be mandatory to receive and issue e-invoices in Germany?

IMPORTANT: From 1 January 2025, all companies in Germany must be able to receive and process e-invoices!

Transitional periods apply to outgoing invoices. Paper and PDF invoices are permitted up to and including 2026. In 2027, paper and PDF invoices will only be permitted for companies with a turnover (within the meaning of Section 19 (3) UstG) of no more than EUR 800,000 in the previous calendar year.

From 1 January 2028, all companies must send B2B e-invoices.

Exempt from the e-invoice obligation are micro-invoices up to EUR 250 gross, transport tickets and transactions that are tax-free in accordance with Section 4 Nos. 8 to 29 UstG.

Which companies are affected by the e-invoicing obligation?

In principle, the obligation to issue e-invoices affects all companies that issue invoices to other companies or to public clients (B2B). The e-invoicing obligation also applies to small businesses, flat-rate farmers, the self-employed, etc.

What is the correct way to handle e-invoices in accounting and archiving in accordance with legal requirements?

E-invoices must be treated in the same way as conventional paper invoices. This means that they must be properly booked and archived in accordance with the statutory retention periods.

For archiving, e-invoices must be available in a format that guarantees the reproduction of the invoice content in unchanged form over the entire retention period. Electronic archives must also be protected against unauthorised access.

What tax aspects need to be taken into account when switching to e-invoices?

When switching to e-invoices, companies must ensure that all tax-relevant information is transmitted correctly. This includes the correct disclosure of VAT and compliance with all invoicing regulations.

For input tax deduction, e-invoices must contain all the necessary information and be issued in a legally recognised format. Companies should familiarise themselves with the specific tax regulations or seek tax advice to ensure compliance.

What are the advantages for a company that switches to e-invoicing?

  • By introducing e-invoicing, companies can implement automated processes, significantly reducing the costs previously incurred by paper-based processes. This step also supports the digitalisation of all accounting processes, which brings with it considerable potential for improvement in this area in particular.
  • The manual processing of invoices is not only time-consuming, but also prone to errors and leads to unnecessary costs. Digitisation and the transition to paperless administration enable work processes to be designed more efficiently.
  • Archiving is simplified and the processing of receipts is made easier, resulting in greater transparency and fewer sources of error. In addition, more efficient payment processing improves the company’s liquidity. The ability to store invoices in an audit-proof manner not only offers security, but also compliance with legal requirements.
  • In addition, the reduction in paper consumption contributes to more sustainable business practices and emphasises a company’s commitment to environmental protection.

We support you with the implementation

Depending on your level of digitalisation, the complexity of your accounting system and your individual consulting needs, we support you with our expertise:

  • Advice on the legal requirements
  • Analysis, optimisation and adaptation of processes
  • Technological support with DATEV Unternehmen online
  • Training and further education for your employees

My recommendation

Even if transitional regulations until the end of 2027 mean temporary relief for companies, I recommend dealing with the VAT regulations in good time and also implementing the issuing of e-invoices at an early stage. In addition, the planned medium-term introduction (probably from 2028) of a transaction-based electronic reporting system through the EU Commission’s ViDA initiative should already be kept in mind when introducing e-invoicing.

We will work with you to develop the optimum solution for you!

Your ACCONSIS contact

Claudia Goerge
Tax Consultant

Service phone
+49 89 547143
or by E-Mail