Electronic invoicing will become mandatory in Spain possibly during the year 2024, as new aspects of the Crea y Crece law are published. Initially, it will be mandatory for companies with a turnover of more than 8 million and, gradually, it will be made mandatory for all other companies and self-employed workers. For this reason, it may be a good idea to resolve the most common doubts regarding the current situation of electronic invoicing in Spain.

The use of electronic invoicing is already very common in the daily life of Spanish companies and self-employed workers, as shown in the report 'Comparative Study on the use of electronic invoicing in Spain' by Fundación Seres. This report, which reflects data on the use of electronic invoicing in Spain in 2022, indicates that 339,987,782 electronic invoices will be issued during 2022 in Spain, which represents an increase of 31.98% with respect to 2021.

What is an electronic invoice?

An electronic invoice is, above all, an invoice. In other words, an electronic invoice shares the same legal requirements as a paper invoice. Both formats function as proof of the delivery of goods or the provision of services between 2 parties.

The distinguishing feature of an electronic invoice is that it is an invoice that is issued and received in electronic format and, therefore, it is transmitted and received through an electronic medium.

When did electronic invoicing arise?

Electronic invoicing emerged as a technological advance, with the aim of replacing the traditional paper invoice, practically at the same time as the Internet appeared. In Spain, Law 25/2013 already established the obligatory nature of electronic invoicing in relations with the Public Administrations.

Who governs the use of electronic invoices? The recipient or the issuer of the invoice?

It is important to note that the issuance of an electronic invoice is subject to the consent of the recipient.

Is an invoice in PDF format an electronic invoice?

An electronic invoice is an invoice document that meets a series of requirements, regulated by the Tax Agency, and which has been issued and received in an electronic format. In addition, as we have indicated above, the consent of the recipient is necessary for its use.

Therefore, an Invoice issued in PDF format, or even a paper invoice scanned and sent by e-mail is correct.

How many types of electronic invoices are there?

At the moment there are two types of electronic invoices:
  • Structured format. This type of invoices are created from computer applications and show the information of the document in a structured way. They are generated automatically by invoicing programs.
  • Without structured format. These types of invoices are created mainly on paper and are scanned and sent by e-mail.
Is it necessary to digitally sign an invoice to make it valid?

Since 2015, it is not mandatory to digitally sign an electronic invoice with a digital certificate for it to be valid. It is only required that it is possible to authenticate the origin of the invoice and its content. The previous regulation of 2012 did require electronic invoices to be issued and digitally signed with a digital certificate.

This requirement was removed due to the fact that many companies and freelancers did not have a digital certificate and continued to issue invoices in paper format.

What are the advantages of using electronic invoicing?

The main advantages of using electronic invoicing are:
  • Processing cycles are reduced, including the collection of invoices.
  • Automatic generation with computer applications reduces the possibility of human error in its preparation.
  • Printing and mailing costs are eliminated.
  • Reduced space required for storage and storage of invoices.
  • Less paper and physical means of transport are used. The environment benefits.
  • Greater security of the information and accessible from any device.
  • It facilitates the fight against fraud since it improves its conservation and traceability.
What requirements must an electronic invoice meet in order to be legally valid?

The minimum requirements for electronic invoices are as follows:
  • The recipient must agree, in writing or verbally, to receive the invoice by electronic means, e.g. e-mail.
  • The format of the document is agreed between both parties: PDF, JPG....
  • The invoice must be legible.
  • Guarantee the origin of sending. For example, use a corporate e-mail.
  • Use a format that does not allow subsequent modification of the invoice content.
  • Possibility of keeping a copy of the document.
Can I be penalized if I mail an invoice?

At the tax level, it is not a reason for penalty if any formal error is made in the invoice document. The most common errors occur when the following aspects are not duly complied with:
  • Indicate a correlative invoice number. It must be correlative and without any jumps.
  • Indicate the date of issue of the invoice.
  • Indicate the fiscal address of the issuer and receiver of the invoice.
  • Describe the operations or products sold. With prices per unit without taxes.
  • Indicate the tax rates applicable to the invoice: VAT, IRPF withholding tax...
  • Show the total amount of the invoice.
The fact that the equivalence surcharge has not been indicated or is made incorrectly on an invoice, if necessary, is subject to a penalty.

How can I correct an incorrect invoice?

In case of an error, for example, omission of a piece of information, an incorrect VAT calculation, etc., it can be corrected by issuing a corrective invoice.

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