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Most clicked FAQs

Here you can find the most popular FAQs. More FAQs about e-invoicing in the federal administration can be found at the bottom of this page.

Buyer reference

In order for the invoice issuer or sender to be able to send an electronic invoice to the correct address, the invoice recipient must be uniquely identified and addressable. The buyer reference is called “Leitweg-ID” in German.

The buyer reference enables electronic addressing and forwarding of the e-invoice by the Federal Central Invoice Submission Portals of the Federal Government to the connected ERP or release systems of the authorities of the Federal Administration.

The buyer reference is specified in the standard XRechnung invoice in the field ‘Buyer reference’ (BT-10) and must be transmitted as mandatory information on every e-invoice.

If the buyer reference provided by the contracting authority is not accepted by the invoice receipt platform, first contact your contracting authority directly.

If you cannot find a joint solution to the problem, the client should address the problem with the ZFB.

The buyer reference is basically made up of three components:

  • Basic address,
  • Specific address and
  • Check digit.

The basic address is used to distinguish whether the invoice recipient belongs to the Federal Administration or to a federal state:

  • 991: The invoice recipient is part of the direct Federal Administration or a constitutional body and receives electronic invoices via the ZRE.
  • 992:
    • a) The invoice recipient is part of the direct Federal Administration and receives electronic invoices via the OZG-RE.
    • b) The invoice recipient is a federal state that receives electronic invoices via the OZG-RE.
  • 993: The invoice recipient is part of the direct Federal Administration and receives electronic invoices via its own solution (neither ZRE nor OZG-RE).
Set-up of a Buyer Reference ID
Set-up of a Buyer Reference ID

If you have any questions or problems with the buyer reference at federal level, you can reach the responsible contact person by email via our contact form.

The allocation of buyer references is regulated at federal and state level:

  • The Central Federal Finance Office (ZFB) is responsible for Federal Authorities and contracting authorities connected at federal level. Further information on applying for the buyer reference can be requested from the ZFB via our contact form.
  • The issuing bodies for state authorities can be found in the current state synopsis of the KoSIT (document with current implementation status of the states)

An invoice recipient in the Federal Administration has at least one buyer reference.

The configuration of the buyer reference in an authority is based on the structure of internal invoice processing. Authorities with several buyer references ensure that the invoice is addressed directly to the area responsible for handling of the invoice by specifying the corresponding buyer references. It is therefore essential that the buyer reference specified in the order is always used for invoicing. 

E-invoicing

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.

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.

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.

No! A special program is not required. There are several options for creating an electronic invoice to authorities of the Federal Administration, in particular:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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.

Download document Download Regulation on Electronic Invoicing (E-RechV)

E-invoices must be created using a data format that meets the requirements of

  • the European standard (EN 16931),
  • the terms of use for the relevant invoice submission portal,
  • 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.

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 GovernmentTo be entered in the following elements of an XRechnung invoice (cf. XRechnung V.1.1)
Buyer referenceBT-10

BT = Business term or information item

Bank detailsFor 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 paymentBT-9 or BT-20
Email or De-Mail addressBT-43
Supplier number*BT-29
Purchase order number*BT-13
List of content requirements to create an e-invoice

*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 latest version of the XRechnung standard must always be used when issuing e-invoices. Another standard (e.g. ZUGFeRD 2.1.1 XRechnung profile without PDF visual format, as a purely structured XML file) can also be used if it complies with the requirements of the European standard for electronic invoicing (EN-16931), the Federal Government’s Regulation on Electronic Invoicing (E-RechV) and the Federal Government’s terms of use for the invoice submission platforms.
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.
The maximum permissible size of an invoice depends on the transmission channel selected (e.g. for ZRE: 10 MB for email attachments or 11 MB for attachments in the web entry). Please refer to the terms of use of the platform. The maximum number of embedded documents supporting the invoice is limited to 200. Permitted file types of the embedded documents are: ‘png’, ‘pdf’, ‘jpg’, ‘jpeg’, ‘xlsx’, ‘ods’ and ‘csv’.“. Attachments may not contain active content (e.g. macros). Changes to these restrictions will be announced via the invoice receipt platforms.
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.

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.

Download document Download decision assistance for selecting a transmission channel (DE)

German e-invoicing regulation

The following applies to the Federal Administration: The Regulation on Electronic Invoicing (E-RechV) essentially stipulates that electronic invoices must be sent to all invoice recipients who are authorities as defined by Section 159 (1)(1-5) of the Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB) from 27 November 2020. This therefore concerns the highest federal authorities, the Federal Government’s constitutional bodies, and the direct and indirect Federal Administration authorities (so-called sub-central public contracting authorities). You will usually receive relevant information for the exchange of electronic invoices from your contracting authority.

The list below also provides an overview of the Federal Administration authorities and companies that are accepting electronic invoices via the Federal Government’s platforms.  The same requirements for the transmission of invoices apply to all of these invoice recipients. The overview below distinguishes between the ZRE and OZG-RE invoice submission platforms and the recipient Federal Administration authorities and institutions. The lists will be expanded on a continual basis. At the moment the documents are only available in German language.

Download document Download ZRE connection list (DE)

Download OZG-RE connection list (DE)

If you are unsure, contact your contracting authority and ask for more information about electronic invoicing.

What you should to consider by invoice submission

For high invoice volumes, the transmission channels web service via Peppol, email and in future De-Mail are suitable.

If you submit few electronic invoices, you can upload pre-generated electronic invoices to the invoice receipt platform.

If you do not have software for creating electronic invoices, you can enter your invoice data directly via the web entry and submit it as an electronic invoice. The invoice receipt platform then generates the electronic invoice for you and provides you with your electronic outgoing invoice so that you can store it securely.

Not sure which transmission channel is right for you? Our decision template will help you:

Download document Download decision template for choosing a transmission channel (DE)

At the moment the document is only available in German language.

The ZRE and OZG-RE invoice submission platforms provide invoice senders with various transmission channels for sending e-invoices to invoice recipients. There are some aspects to bear in mind when using the email transmission channel on both invoice submission platforms:

Important information about using the email transmission channel

The Federal Government provides two invoice receipt platforms for the transmission of e-invoices to federal public-sector customers:

ZRE for electronic invoices to direct Federal Administration institutions (e.g. ministries and higher federal authorities).

OZG-RE for electronic invoices to entities of the indirect Federal Administration (e.g. independent entities that have taken over federal tasks).

The invoice recipients will let you know via which invoice receipt platform they can be reached.

In order to use an invoice receipt platform, you must register there (create a user account) and have the desired transmission channels activated.

An e-invoice must contain at least the following information in accordance with the E-RechV :

✓ Buyer reference
✓ Bank details
✓ Terms of payment
✓ An email or De-Mail address of the invoice issuer
✓ Supplier number*
✓ Purchase order number*

*if this number has already been transmitted to the invoice issuer at the time of commissioning.

Further FAQ about e-invoicing

Select a category for specific information on e-invoicing.

Further information on e-invoicing in the Federal Administration

Select a category for specific information on e-invoicing.