“An electronic invoice is one that is sent and received in any electronic format”. This is the definition laid down by the Italian Tax Authority in Circular 18/E, issued on June 24. The document expands on the information provided in the previous Circular 12/E on electronic invoicing and its use, and also clears up certain key aspects related with acceptance by the receiver and the methods of sending.
One of the new features in terms of the concept of “electronic invoicing” is the distinction drawn between an electronic invoice and a paper bill. The circular establishes that the difference “is not, per se, the original format type – electronic or paper – used for its creation, but rather the circumstance that the invoice is in electronic format when it is transmitted (or made available), received and accepted by the recipient.” In other words, bills created through electronic means, but traditionally sent (on paper), are not considered electronic invoices. However, those generated on paper, then scanned and sent electronically, are defined as such.
Another notable aspect of Circular 18/E is that, as of now, it is no longer necessary to have a formal, signed written consent between the sender and receiver of electronic invoices. Although the use of this system is subject to acceptance by the recipient, their payment of the bills shall be deemed sufficient proof of an implicit agreement. In this sense, it is also important to note that there is no mandatory “symmetry” between sender and recipient. This means that the issuer may invoice electronically and the recipient may decide to maintain the traditional paper-based management system.
In addition to these novel aspects, the Tax Agency document reminds us in Article 1.2 of the three indispensable requirements that must endorse all electronic invoices: authenticity of origin, content integrity and readability. These three features must be fulfilled from the moment the invoice is issued until the end of the safekeeping period stipulated in current legislation.
There are different methods in place to ensure compliance with these requirements. Among them, the use of electronic signature, the use of EDI systems for electronic data transfer, or use of a management control system.
These are the methods applied by the EDICOM e-invoicing platform, designed to ease the daily tasks of administration departments as far as possible. These are B2B/B2G solutions which are not only aligned with the Italian regulations, but are also of an international nature, so will enable connection with any public or private partner anywhere in the world.