EESPA Standard: E-Invoicing Compliance Definitions and Responsibility Allocation Framework

Anna Nordén
April 28, 2021

EESPA, the European E-invoicing Service Providers Association, recently published EESPA Standard Definitions for Legally Compliant Electronic Invoicing and their usage.

This document aims to provide a basis for e-invoicing service providers and their customers to agree on allocation of responsibility of the legal compliance of processes supported by the services. These standard definitions will contribute to clearer agreements, encourage best practice and ensure professionalism in the e-invoice industry.

In most European countries, e-invoicing service providers can offer different options for VAT compliance processes; any such offering is an individual competitive choice of the service provider. Regardless of which VAT compliance process is used, it’s important to clearly define which party is legally responsible for the supported processes. EESPA’s standard definitions aim to provide a basis for an agreement on allocations of responsibility, which will identify the tasks that each party will be accountable for.

In developing the standard definitions document, EESPA’s Public Policy and Compliance Working Group (PPCWG) started by focusing on key definitions or concepts that are relevant to compliance-related topics that typically arise in the context of e-invoicing.

Based on these definitions, the document provides a predefined ‘Responsibility Matrix’ that can be used for the management of responsibility between a service provider and its customer. Among the suggested components that should be considered between service providers and their customers in a compliant electronic invoicing process are:

  • Invoice content requirements, including the requirement to determine the applicable VAT law of an invoice
  • Invoice process and form requirements, such as notification and requirements for prior approval
  • Contractual requirements, e.g. interchange agreement or e-invoicing buyer consent requirements
  • Requirements for real-time invoice communication with the tax administration, such as clearance of the invoice and real-time reporting
  • Audit and periodic reporting requirements
  • Data privacy compliance requirements that aim to ensure compliance with applicable data privacy law, such as GDPR

The aforementioned ‘Responsibility Matrix’ provides user guidance that enables parties to agree and document which party has the responsibility for each compliance component: monitor relevant requirements, implement and maintain measures to ensure continued compliance, and compliance assurance to confirm compliance of the measures taken.

Using these standard definitions and the ‘Responsibility Matrix’ will lead to clearer agreements and ultimately better relationships between customers and service providers. The document can also serve as a check-list companies can use for RFIs or RFPs designed to compare service provider offerings.

Take Action

To find out more about what we believe the future holds, download VAT Trends: Toward Continuous Transaction Controls. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up-to-date with regulatory news and updates. 

Sign up for Email Updates

Stay up to date with the latest tax and compliance updates that may impact your business.


Anna Nordén

Share This Post
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

E-Invoicing Compliance EMEA Italy VAT & Fiscal Reporting
May 18, 2021
Italy Postpones E-Document Legislation

In September 2020, Italy introduced major changes to the country’s rules on the creation and preservation of electronic documents. These new requirements were expected to be enforced on 7 June 2021. However the Agency for Digital Italy (AGID) has now decided to postpone the introduction of the new e-document rules until 1 January 2022. The […]

North America ShipCompliant
May 14, 2021
Alabama Is Latest State to Permit Direct-to-Consumer Shipping of Wine

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed HB 437 into law on May 13, 2021, making Alabama the latest state to legalize direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping of wine. With this step, only Delaware, Mississippi and Utah continue to prohibit this popular and valuable means of selling wine. Alabama’s new DtC law will not become effective until August 1, […]

Tax Compliance Tax Information Reporting
May 14, 2021
Anatomy of a Due Diligence Letter

What is unclaimed property due diligence? An unclaimed property due diligence letter is an organization’s last chance at contacting an apparent owner and preventing their property from escheatment. Each state or reporting jurisdiction has its own unique set of requirements and standards. Due diligence letters are typically required to be sent 30 to 120 days […]

EMEA VAT & Fiscal Reporting
May 13, 2021
EU Council Approves DAC7 Rules on Digital Platform Tax Reporting

On 22 March 2021 the EU Council approved DAC7, which establishes EU-wide rules meant to improve administrative cooperation in taxation. In addition, the Directive addresses additional challenges posed by a growing digital platform economy. What is DAC7? In 2011, the EU adopted Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation in the EU […]

E-Invoicing Compliance EMEA VAT & Fiscal Reporting
May 13, 2021
Russia Introduces Mandatory E-Invoicing From 1 July 2021

Russia introduces a new e-invoicing system for traceability of certain goods on 1 July 2021. Federal Law No. 371-FZ will amend the Russian Tax Code to introduce the new procedure for the traceability system, which will bring the introduction of mandatory e-invoicing for taxpayers dealing with traceable goods. Since its introduction, B2B e-invoicing in Russia […]