Will Spain become the next EU country to follow in Italy’s footsteps by introducing a national mandate for business to business (B2B) e-invoicing? With the introduction of its e-invoicing mandate, Italy will become the first major EU country to acquire real-time information that will allow it to cross-check the VAT companies declare with the amount they actually pay. And across Europe, we’re witnessing the trend to real-time VAT control and mandatory e-invoicing unfold before our eyes.
Just last month, we reported on Greece formally discussing plans to introduce a B2B e-invoice framework. While Spain, who already has a business to government (B2G) invoice mandate, has announced that it will expand the mandatory use of electronic invoicing, albeit with a limited scope, to the B2B sector.
Spain’s existing B2G mandate
Electronic invoicing has been mandatory in Spain for all transactions between public administrations and their suppliers since 2015. While its B2G platform, known as FACe, did experience technical glitches when it was first introduced, these have now largely been overcome and today:
- 9,000 public administrations are registered on the system
- Over 100,000 national and international suppliers are integrated with the platform
- 900,000 invoices are issued every month
Spanish officials are always quick to promote the wider benefits the B2G mandate has brought to its economy. These include a reduction in associated cost, which they state is €12 for a paper-based invoice – compared to just under €4 for an electronic invoice, and the increase in speed to which payments are made to suppliers.
Extending FACe from B2G into B2B
The extension of the Spanish B2G mandate, into the B2B domain, covers invoicing between sub-contractors and main contractors of Spanish public administrations. The exchange of these invoices will occur through a new platform, known as FACeB2B, and will be mandatory for invoices that exceed €5,000. Announced in May 2018 the mandate has been adopted into Spanish law through legislation 9/2017 and transposes the EU Directives 2014/23/EU and 2014/24/EU.
The FACeB2B platform
The new FACeB2B platform will utilize the FacturaE format and will perform e-invoice distribution to the buyer, manage error handling (cancellation request and approval), payment recording and electronic signature validation.
With an imminent deadline of 30 June 2018 and beta specifications being released only a few weeks before this date, corporations are again forced to work against the clock to adapt their processes to these new requirements.
More questions than answers?
The extension of mandatory e-invoicing into the Spanish B2B sector, while limited, does leave more questions than we have answers for, especially when you take into context the developments in Italy and Greece. Is this a genuinely restricted mandate without further ambition? Or are we witnessing the cornerstone of a national e-invoicing mandate? How will the new government, formed only 2 weeks ago, affect the roll-out of this mandate?