A year since the implementation of the electronic invoicing law in Spain: an evaluation of the situation

It has been a year since the entry of the electronic invoicing law in Spain. For many companies working with the Public Administration, it was a structural change, since invoices had to present them electronically via FACe. Did they expect these results? What kind of developments? How does it fit with the strategies set by Europe? Today, from Viafirma we will tell you.

A review on the law on Electronic Invoicing

electronic invoicing

Before discussing the evolution of electronic invoicing in Spain, for those who do not fully understand what the Law 15/2013 is, we did a little review:

  • Who is affected? Every company who is involved to issue invoices to government on any level, as well as large companies.
  • What requirements do they cover?

Evolution of the implementation of electronic invoicing in Spain

Promoting digital services is one of the main objectives of most public administrations. The digital transformation is unstoppable, and the companies are making a substantial progress on issues related to this new reality.

Some of the initiatives need to keep pace and tenor for the regulations, both community-based and on national level. For example, open data strategy or electronic access for citizens to public services. The progressive introduction of electronic invoicing is not an exception.

With regard to the latter, the evolution has been very positive over the past year.  For both, private and public sector, the e-invoice is growing, meeting milestones and overcoming challenges, not without complications, but unstoppable.

Indeed, settling deadlines for  the electronic invoicing to be mandatory in our country, has  an the schedule settled by  different types of regulations that are drawing very ambitious goals, although the reality has been moving unpredictably.

In order to promote electronic communication between different countries of the European Union, it has determined to promote the spread of e-invoice, understood as a digital document that replaces the conventional invoice in paper format.

From Brussels, it has been working towards the development of an unique model of electronic invoicing for the whole EU, creating  both a regulatory framework and through innovation and competitiveness programs.

European regulations gave the green light to reach the target of its implementation in 2020 at Community level, particularly  the Directive 2010/45/EU of 13 July 2010, -per Directive amending 2006/112/EC on the common system of VAT, in terms billing-  as well as  Directive 2014/55/​​EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on electronic invoicing in public recruitment.

Responding to these directives, Law 25/2013, of 27 December, momentum of the electronic invoice and creator of the accounting record of invoices in the public sector, as well as the Organic Law 6/2015 of 12 were declared in June, partially amending that. In addition, we also found a subsequent regulatory development that takes the form of royal decrees, orders and resolutions.

In 2020, they expect that the replacement has been complete, a horizon that is starting to look more real, thanks to the developments since last year. The positive dynamics do not stop growing, even in many cases they increase exponential.

The flexibility of administrations in facilitating the transition has been really motivated by the economic crisis. These difficult circumstances ensured to meet the deadlines on time imposed by the regulations.

In fact, the move to electronic invoicing in Spain, started in early 2015, was far from meeting the expectations, although it can now speak of a positive development.

The point of optimism is explained as a contrast to those who experienced it at the beginning of their problems. The “blackout paper” is still a pending issue, but it is also true that moving to electronic invoicing is progressing at a pace that until recently seemed elusive.

A slow start

electronic invoicing

Since the 15th January of 2015, the suppliers of the Administration and certain sectors are required to use the electronic invoice in Spain.  Before that, the turnover was optional. In fact, since 2003, in Spain and in the whole of Europe there is a legal and tax regulation environment capable for sending and receiving e-bills.

It was the law 25/2013 the turning point, due to the achievements in regards to the statutory of electronic signature for interacting with public administrations.  

Even though  there are  agencies and entities that exempts the law enforcement, the Government states that the uses of electronic invoicing  for bills that exceeds 5,000 euros, can bring a total savings of tens of millions of euros.

electronic invoicing

2016: use increases

The figures show it. Even with marked regional differences, the statistics draw a constant developing scenario. According to the latest statistics compiled by FACe, belonging to the first quarter of 2016, the total transaction through this organization is 7,750,458 invoices, including autonomic, the General State Administration (AGE), local government, universities and other institutions.

The Electronic Administration Observatory shows in its latest bulletin of indicators that  the number of e-invoices processed through FACe, only in the field of General State Administration -AGE- was 1.107.475 bills only  in March 2016, compared to 6,010,928 issued throughout 2015 and against 884 invoices issued in 2014.

Although the Tax Office links this increase to the extra liquidity they are getting through different official mechanisms, the progress of this new bill is undeniable.

Besides the fact that making e-invoice statutory, this liquidity arrangements  such as the Autonomous Liquidity Fund and the Financial Facility, have acted as accelerators paying bills, especially from the autonomies.

The amount of these operations also achieved record figures, from the 32.824 million euros last year, amounted to 40.369.769.890 million recorded between January and March this year.

By administrations, local authorities accounted for almost half of electronic receipts (49.6 percent), compared with 38.45 autonomic and 9.94 percent of the AGE.

According to a report by the European Association of Service Providers Electronic Invoice (EESPA, for its acronym in English) in the next five years they expect to increase at a rate of 10 to 20 percent.

In Spain it isn’t different. According to the latest available data for the first half of 2015, only the private sector issued 77.7 million digital invoices, which represents an increase of 16 percent. In comparative terms, they are more than 10 million more documents than in the same period last year, and in the public sector evolution is not less positive.

A very beneficial change

Like all changes, this also takes time. In Spain the beginning has been played by hesitations, but the countdown has started. From January 15, 2015, the suppliers of the Administration and certain sectors are required to use the electronic invoice.

Despite a slow and difficult start, -even today many public entities fail to comply with the required technical conditions and FACe, the whole point of entry of e-invoices, continues its efforts to optimize its operation-, the balance today can not be more positive.

If you are interested in investigating how electronic invoicing have effect in Spain, we recommend you to read these wo articles:

  • The new rules on boosting electronic invoicing and accounting records of invoices in the public sector in 4 steps
  • E-Invoice, taxes and the Tax Office: What is SII?

Both in the private and public companies that choose ​​for the use of software that allow the issuance of e-invoice in both formats, since the digital transformation is an undeniable fact who is growing. Viafirma eInvoice is our solution to meet this need, allowing the issuance of invoices and delivery with FACe with one click. Viafirma eInvoice meets recommendation by the Ministry of Economy and Finance format (format v3.2 and v3.2.1).

Still we have to wait a few months to see the results of all the measures, however, it is very favourable evolution so far. And you, what do you think what will be the next evolution? Share it with us.

See you next week!