In 2015, the EU accounted for 65% of Switzerland’s imports and 44% of its exports of goods. Switzerland is a well-structured country where standardization of information is crucial, and as of 2016 they had already created a well-established set of e-invoicing requirements. So, despite not being part of the EU, the country’s e-invoicing standards do frequently come into play for our purposes. In fact, in 2017, more than 25% of invoices in Switzerland were issued electronically.
Since 2016, business-to-government (B2G) electronic invoicing has been mandatory in Switzerland. In Switzerland, any B2G transaction with a value higher than 5,000CHF must be submitted to the Federal Administration. Switzerland officially recommends the hybrid invoice format, ZUGFeRD/Factur-X (German/French standards). Nevertheless, it is not intended to replace existing EDI procedures at this time. All invoices must be archived for a period of 10 years, according to Article 958f of the Swiss Code of Obligations.
Digital signatures, which were mandatory in Switzerland until 2016 to link invoice data in a way that could track any subsequent changes, are no longer mandatory. Today, Swiss law acknowledges advancements in technology security and allows the use of electronic signatures to validate invoices.
B2B & B2C E-Invoicing
In Switzerland, for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions, e-invoicing is optional, but all invoices are subject to the 10-year archiving period. While there are no immediate plans for Switzerland to make B2B e-invoicing mandatory, it is always possible, especially considering the number of countries that are implementing e-invoicing legislation.
We know that the future of e-invoicing in Europe is 100% electronic. Though Switzerland is not part of the EU, the EU is certainly a large trading partner for many Swiss businesses. Therefore, it is not unlikely that Switzerland may eventually make all e-invoicing mandatory, especially since B2G transactions already require a digital form of processing. And, with the way that paper-based invoicing is rapidly becoming less popular, it seems likely that this could happen sooner than later.
For more details regarding the regulations and situation of Switzerland click here.