Buyer reference or in German Leitweg-ID is a unique character string that enables the technical addressing of the e-invoice to an invoice recipient’s processing systems. An e-invoice to the Federal Administration authorities must contain a buyer reference otherwise it cannot be correctly delivered.
The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) has issued a standard on e-invoicing that ensures EU-wide standardisation in syntax (rules according to which the computerised system of symbols/characters is formed) and semantics (meaning of the symbols/characters of this system) as a basis for national implementation. The member states can introduce their own standards or formalisation of the standard (so-called CIUS) based on this standard. Conformity to the CEN standard facilitates EU-wide processing.
Central invoice submission portal (CISP) or German “ZRE” is a central access points for the submission of e-invoices. The direct Federal Administration (e.g. ministries and higher federal authorities) receives invoices via the CISP/ZRE invoice submission platform. Institutions associated with the indirect Federal Administration and cooperating federal states receive e-invoices.
Invoice data, e.g. sender, invoice number, items, amounts and taxes, is entered by the invoice issuer in a standardised format and transmitted as an XML data record. This data set is the e-invoice.
Documents, e.g. invoice attachments as PDF files, embedded in e-invoices can be submitted via the Federal Government invoice submission platforms.
An e-invoice enables the consistent, automated transmission and processing of invoice information from the invoice being issued to payment. In technical terms, an electronic invoice is a data set in a standardised format.
27 November 2020 is the final deadline for invoice issuers to implement e-invoicing. After this date, invoice issuers will no longer be able to submit paper or PDF invoices to the Federal Government’s public contracting authorities. (Attachments, e.g. as PDF files, may only be submitted embedded in the XML data record.) It will then only be possible to submit e-invoices, as defined by the Federal Government’s Regulation on Electronic Invoicing, to the Federal Administration authorities (exceptions are governed by Section 3 (3) of the Federal Government’s Regulation on Electronic Invoicing).
The submission of e-invoices to the Federal Government’s invoice submission platforms is free of charge.
According to Section 5 of the Federal Government’s Regulation on Electronic Invoicing, in addition to VAT invoicing elements (for more on this, see Section 14 of the Value-Added Tax Act (UStG)), an e-invoice must contain the following information at a minimum:
- Buyer reference – you will be given the buyer reference when the contract is awarded.
- Payment terms or the payment due date.
- The payment recipient’s bank details
- The invoice issuer’s De-Mail or email address.
- Sales order number (optional)
- Purchase order number (optional)
Leitweg-ID is the German word for buyer reference. This is a unique character string that enables the technical addressing of the e-invoice to an invoice recipient’s processing systems. An e-invoice to the Federal Administration authorities must contain a buyer reference otherwise it cannot be correctly delivered.
OZG-RE stands for Onlinezugangsgesetz-konforme Rechnungseingangsplattform in German, or the Online Access Act-Compliant Invoice Submission Portal in English. This is the platform for institutions connected to the indirect Federal Administration and cooperating federal states.
Support hotline for invoice issuers:
A public order by a public authority is the basis for submitting an e-invoice. Among other things, a public order contains information on how to submit the e-invoice.
The Electronic Invoicing in Federal Government Public Procurement Ordinance, or the Regulation on Electronic Invoicing for short, can be viewed on the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community’s website.
Peppol (Pan European Public Procurement OnLine) is an organisation responsible for developing an EU-wide infrastructure for consistent digital procurement processes. Peppol provides specifications for electronic business documents and enables access to an EU network infrastructure (eDelivery Network). Operators of Peppol Access Points for this network must be members of the Peppol organisation and must comply with strict security standards. Companies from Germany and Europe can submit e-invoices to the public administration directly via the Peppol Access Points. This is particularly useful for companies that tend to submit a lot of invoices to Federal Government and federal state institutions.
To ensure the quality of the XRechnung standard, in addition to the operators, specific committees have also been established at Federal Government and state level to ensure the practical development of solutions to problems and provide quality assurance.
The retention period for e-invoices (XML file is the original invoice), as for analogue invoices, is 10 years. This is for how long you must retain the relevant documents securely and digitally.
Optional shared use of the OZG-RE invoice submission platform is available for indirect Federal Administration institutions and federal states. The platform offers a user-friendly solution for the submission of e-invoices under public contracts.
To test the submission of electronic invoices, invoice issuers can use the ZRE and OZG-RE test environments:
Web-based data entry
The web-based data entry on the CISP/ZRE and OZG-RE invoice submission platforms provides the option of entering invoice data manually in the browser. The invoice submission platform then generates the e-invoice and makes it available to the recipient. With manual web-based data entry, no special software is required to create electronic invoices.
A web service enables the direct transmission of data between electronic systems, e.g. ERP systems, in other words, between the issuing system and the recipient system.This enables the editor to generate and send ‘at the push of a button’ in the same system. A web service is provided for the CISP/ZRE and OZG-RE invoice submission platforms, which can be used to send e-invoices to the platforms via Peppol. For information about the requirements for connecting to the web service, please contact us via our contact form.
XRechnung is a standard for the style and technical composition of the invoice information in an XML data record. This XML data record constitutes an electronic invoice. The standard enables the receipt and subsequent processing by different software systems. XRechnung is a national embodiment of the European EN 16931 standard (known as a Core Invoice Usage Specification – CIUS).
ZRE stands for Zentrale Rechnungseingangsplattform des Bundes in German, or Central Invoice Submission Portal (CISP) in English. Invoice issuers submit e-invoices on this platform to direct Federal Administration institutions (e.g. ministries and higher federal authorities).
Support hotline for invoice issuers: