, ,

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

As Principal, Regulatory Affairs at Sovos, Anna Nordén pursues government relations and other public affairs work to anticipate new regulatory trends and laws. In tight collaboration with colleagues in both Strategy and Regulatory Analysis and Design, her long practice and expertise are instrumental in guiding both Sovos and legislators as new tax control reforms are rolled out across the globe.
Share This Post
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

North America ShipCompliant
August 16, 2022
Dispelling the Top 5 DtC Shipping Myths

Direct-to-consumer (DtC) alcohol shipping can at times seem convoluted and increasingly complicated. States continue to evolve their DtC shipping requirements, which can understandably create some confusion over what is and is not allowed. However, working with the right partner can help to clear up some of that confusion. Here are some of the top misconceptions […]

E-Invoicing Compliance EMEA VAT & Fiscal Reporting
August 16, 2022
VAT in the Digital Age: Mandatory E-invoicing in the EU

The European Commission (EC)’s action plan for fair and simple taxation – ’VAT in the Digital Age’- continues to progress. After a public consultation process, the EC has published Final Reports discussing the best options for the European market to fight tax fraud and benefit businesses with the use of technology. The areas covered are: […]

North America ShipCompliant
August 15, 2022
Compliance and Tax Considerations for Cider Producers

The summer months can be ideal for enjoying a hard cider, but it’s always a good time for cider producers to brush up on three-tier compliance rules. Before expanding into new markets, you must be familiar with the specific rules of each state. In this blog, we will cover the major regulatory and tax rules […]

August 10, 2022
Meet the Expert – Hector Fernandez, Principal Compliance Tax Services Representative

Meet the Expert is our series of blogs where we share more about the team behind our innovative software and managed services. As a global organisation with indirect tax experts across all regions, our dedicated team are often the first to know about regulatory changes and developments in global tax regimes, to support you in your […]

North America ShipCompliant
August 9, 2022
2022 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Mid-Year Report

A lot has changed in the direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine shipping channel since the January release of our Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report—changes in volume and value that have the market resembling pre-pandemic patterns. Note: The proprietary data featured in this mid-year report is compiled from an algorithm measuring total DtC shipments based on millions of anonymous […]