In Austria, the Federal Ministry of Finance is the institution responsible for developing the country’s e-invoicing system, as well as determining the data structures to be used in the process. It is important to note that the federal government will only accept correctly structured e-invoices; PDFs are not accepted. 

B2B E-Invoicing

Business-to-business e-invoicing is not mandatory in Austria. However, it is possible (and, of course, encouraged) for any business to utilize e-invoicing for their business transactions. These electronic documents can be sent in Austrian national ebInterface format or through the PEPPOL network

Even though B2B e-invoicing is not mandatory in Austria, more and more organizations are using this method, especially when they frequently exchange documents with trading partners in another country. As we know, the process of e-invoicing is faster, more secure, and extremely cost-effective compared to traditional paper document exchange.

B2G E-Invoicing 

In contrast, business-to-government e-invoicing is mandatory in Austria. Since January of 2014, e-invoicing has been a requirement for any business that exchanges documents with a government entity. 

All public authorities must be able to receive e-invoices, and all public authority suppliers are required to send their invoices in the specified electronic format (ebInterface, PEPPOL, BIS, and UBL are all options). Public authorities and their suppliers may choose their own e-invoicing solution provider (that’s where a company like SPS Commerce comes in), given the provider is able to meet Austrian e-invoicing requirements (and of course, we are able to).

Is E-Invoicing Gaining Popularity in Austria?

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ for short) has analysed invoicing preferences in Austria from 2009 to 2018. The statistics show that 57.3% of companies prefer to exchange PDF invoices and use email as a means of transport (76.1%). On the other hand, only 4.5% of companies use structured electronic invoice formats (e.g. eBInterface, XML or EDIFACT), which they exchange via the corresponding web portal (4.8% of companies preferred this method).

A better and legally compliant alternative for Austrian companies is the option of using any available e-invoicing service provider, provided they use a platform that is connected to the Federal Service Portal (USP). E-invoices must be submitted via the online portal. The Austrian government has set up the ebInterface to enable companies to exchange electronic invoices with the government.

What does this mean for companies? As they mostly exchange invoices as PDF files via e-mail, this means that they have to devote more resources to bookkeeping. Imagine how time-consuming it is to process invoices manually (hopefully without correcting errors later). Another popular option is to print PDF invoices. However, this loses the whole concept of electronic invoicing and storage.  

In the meantime, electronic invoicing is becoming increasingly popular in Austria, thanks in part to the ViDA legislation. The European Union plans to introduce the ViDA VAT system by 2028. After this date, invoices that do not comply with the new guidelines will no longer be accepted for payment. The main change that this legislation will bring is that the exchange of invoices will take place via the tax authorities. This will allow them to check compliance with VAT obligations invoice by invoice. Of course, this plan means the introduction of mandatory electronic invoicing in all EU countries for all types of business transactions.

Bottom line

To summarise, a company can create and send electronic invoices by uploading them either manually via the PEPPOL network, the E-RECHNUNG.GV.AT system or via a selected e-invoicing service provider. 

Regardless of whether they are B2B or B2G invoices, all companies operating in Austria have a seven-year archiving period for all invoices (both paper and electronic). Archiving outside Austria is permitted under certain conditions. 

Further details on electronic invoicing in Austria can be found here.

If you are looking for an e-invoicing solution that integrates with your Microsoft Dynamics 365 environment, we can tell you more about our EDI-2-FLOW for Microsoft Dynamics 365 here.