What is the difference between the federal administrative portal and the two federal invoice submission portals, the ZRE and the OZG-RE?
To find the ZRE and OZG-RE on the federal portal, enter “ZRE” in the search field of www.verwaltung.bund.de. You will then be taken to the page “Transmit invoices electronically via e‑invoice platforms”. Click on the text or on the word “More”. On the new page, click on “Forms & Online Services”. Under “Related Links”, you will find links to the ZRE and OZG-RE and any other available invoice submission platforms.
E-invoices must be created using a data format that meets the requirements of
- the European standard (EN 16931),
- and the requirements of the federal E-Invoicing Ordinance (E-Rechnungsverordnung, ERechV).
In general, invoices for the federal administration must be issued using the currently valid XRechnung standard. Other invoice formats may be used (such as ZUGFeRD version 2.1.1 or later in the XRECHNUNG profile, as a simple structured XML file) as long as they meet the above-mentioned requirements.
Depending on the ERP you use, it may be possible to create an e-invoice in the outgoing invoice system. If you are not sure, contact the manufacturer and ask whether the ERP supports electronic invoicing in XRechnung standard.
An e-invoice can be rejected by the invoice submission portal because it does not meet formal requirements or contains calculation errors, or it can be rejected by the invoice recipient due to errors of fact or content.
What to do in case of formal errors in an invoice:
If you use the transmission method “web submission” (manual invoice creation via the portal) or “upload” (manual upload of existing e-invoices to the portal), you can have your e-invoice validated directly by the portal. An error report stating the formal errors in the invoice will be displayed to you before the invoice is sent.
If you are using a different transmission method and your e-invoice has been rejected by the portal, on both portals you will see a magnifying glass symbol in the overview of invoices. If you click on this symbol, you will find detailed results of the formal checks carried out on the e-invoice in question.
You can then create a new invoice, correcting the identified errors before you submit it.
What to do in case of errors of fact or content in an invoice:
If your e-invoice is rejected by the recipient, this is probably due to an error that the recipient has identified regarding the calculation or factual content of the invoice.
When rejecting an e-invoice, the invoice recipient has the option of leaving a comment for you about the reason for the rejection.
If no reason is stated, please check your submitted e-invoice carefully and contact the invoice recipient if necessary.
You can then re-submit the corrected e-invoice.
According toSection 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.
- Terms of payment (payment due date or text description of the terms)
- The payment recipient’s bank details
- The invoice issuer’s postal or De-Mail address
|Mandatory information according to Section 5 E-RechV of the Federal Government||To be entered in the following elements of an XRechnung invoice (cf. XRechnung V.1.1)|
BT = Business term or information item
|Bank details||For Bank transfer: BG-17 (BT-84 to 86)|
For direct debit: BG-19 (BT-89 to91)
BG = Business group or group of information items
|Terms of payment||BT-9 or BT-20|
|Email or De-Mail address||BT-43|
|Purchase order number*||BT-13|
*Mandatory information, if transmitted at the time of commissioning
A specific data field is provided for each of these additional details. Further information on the XRechnung invoice standard can be found in the FAQ section on XRechnung invoicing.
The Federal Government’s E-Invoicing Act and the Federal Government’s Regulation on Electronic Invoicing govern the exchange of invoices between the direct and indirect Federal Administration and its suppliers. The individual federal states have the authority to implement EU Directive 2014/55/EU.
From 27 November 2020, apart from a few exceptions, the Federal Government will require its suppliers to submit e-invoices. The electronic invoicing requirements applicable to you, as a supplier to federal state authorities and companies, will be regulated in the respective statutory provisions of the states.
At federal state level, the ZRE (direct Federal Administration) and OZG-RE (indirect Federal Administration) invoice submission portals are provided for the exchange of invoices. The federal states can also connect to the OZG-RE but provide their own invoice submission solutions as well.
The table below lists websites providing information about e-invoicing within the respective federal states, and is therefore an initial aid to obtaining an overview of the local implementation. For more information, see the KoSIT Country Comparison. If you have doubts about the legal situation, we recommend addressing your questions to your contracting authority within the state administration directly.
List of information websites about e-invoicing in the states
|Federal state||Information site (incl. link)|
|Hamburg||Further information to follow|
|Saxony-Anhalt||Further information to follow|
|Schleswig-Holstein||Further information to follow|
No! A special program is not required. There are several options for creating an electronic invoice to authorities of the Federal Administration, in particular:
- Use of an (ERP) system or service provider
Do you use a service provider or commercially available software for invoicing? Contact the manufacturer and find out whether electronic invoicing is supported. Do you use your own system? Clarify with your IT department which steps are necessary to create e-invoices that are compliant with the EU standard.
- Use of the ZRE/OZG-RE web-based entry system
If you are not using an outgoing invoice system or if you need an interim solution, familiarise yourself with the ZRE/OZG-RE web-based entry system. On both platforms, the Federal Government provides functions for manual entry of invoices. Templates can also be created and downloaded for later use or reuse.
The following federal invoice receipt platforms must be used for submitting e-invoices.
- Direct Federal Administration institutions and federal constitutional bodies are connected to the ZRE.
- Invoices to bodies of the indirect Federal Administration (and to cooperating federal states) are submitted via the OZG-RE platform.
Note: Indirect Federal Administration public contracting authorities are not obliged to use the OZG-RE, which is why in-house solutions are also possible in individual cases in addition to OZG-RE. The contracting authority will inform its invoice issuers about the invoice submission method to be used.
You can obtain more detailed information (for example, which platform is available to you) via the underlying order or, of course, directly from the invoice recipient.
In addition, we offer an overview of the contracting authorities connected to the two platforms on the website (section ‘Invoice issuers – General information on e-invoices’). It does not replace bilateral communication with your ordering party to provide further information such as buyer references.
The two central platforms require prior registration and activation of the desired transmission channels for the transmission of the invoice. For high invoice volumes, the mass transmission channels web service via Peppol, email and, in the future, De-Mail are suitable. Alternatively, the upload and web entry functions are also available. Make sure you identify the transmission channel that suits you best.
No. As defined in EU Directive 2014/55/EU, e-invoicing is a structured data set. A PDF file is not an e-invoice under these requirements.
Invoice formats that do not comply with the requirements of the European standard cannot be taken into account.
Invoice supporting documents or attachments must be embedded in the invoice data record and may not be sent separately as an attachment to an email or De-Mail.
Invoice documents with attachments that require paper-based submission under other legal provisions (export certificates, customs documents, etc.) remain unaffected by the above regulations.
More detailed information on the XRechnung standard can be found at KoSIT.
In principle, the obligation for contractors to invoice the Federal Government electronically applies from 27/11/2020. The exceptions are regulated in the ordinance and are described as follows:
- Invoices issued after the fulfilment of a direct order up to an amount of 1,000 euros (order value)
- Invoices subject to the exceptions under Section 8 or Section 9 (confidential invoice data as well as matters of the European External Action Service and other procurements abroad)
- Invoices to be issued in procedures for the borrowed administration arrangement under Section 159(1)(5) of the Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB).
- Irrespective of the legal obligation, an obligation to submit e-invoices may also arise from the respective underlying order or contractual relationship.
An e-invoice is invoice information that is transmitted electronically and automatically received and processed. An e-invoice facilitates consistent, automated transmission and processing of invoice information from the invoice submission to payment.
An e-invoice provides invoice content in a structured, machine-readable data set instead of on paper or in an image file such as a PDF. This ensures that information provided in this form by the invoice issuer can be:
a) transmitted electronically
b) received electronically
c) as well as processed and approved for payment automatically and seamlessly.