Taxes & Law

The e-invoicing obligation is coming in 2025 - what companies need to know now

Fatih-Kağan Taşkoparan

Share this article

The time has come - after several changes and adjustments, the Federal Council on March 22, 2024 now the Growth Opportunities Act was finally passed. Among other things, it obliges all companies based in Germany to accept e-invoices from January 1, 2025. But what exactly does this mean for entrepreneurs? And what do they need to pay particular attention to now? We have summarized the most important points.

The background

The Federal Council expects the law to reduce taxes and bureaucracy for German companies by a total of 3.2 billion euros. In addition, there is to be a so-called research allowance for small and medium-sized enterprises to further stimulate the economy. At the same time, however, the Growth Opportunities Act also lays important foundations for a successful transition to the digital age. planned sales tax reform of the European Commission, which is due to take place in 2028: The EU-wide legislative initiative "VAT in the Digital Age" (ViDA) - or "Value Added Tax in the Digital Age" requires standardized e-invoices based on the EU standard CEN 16931.

What exactly does the e-invoicing obligation mean for companies?

The law obliges German companies to accept e-invoices from January 1, 2025. At the same time, however, it also provides for various Transition periods and simplifications for the issuing of e-invoices. Accordingly, companies may still issue paper invoices or invoices in another electronic format for sales carried out in the period from January 1, 2025 to December 31, 2026, provided the recipient agrees. For companies whose total turnover in the previous year did not exceed EUR 800,000, this will even apply until December 31, 2027. Special regulations are also still in place for tax-free services, small-value invoices of up to 250 euros and tickets, for example.

By contrast, paper invoices between German companies and businesses will no longer be used at all from 2026. It is interesting to note, however, that invoices between companies and consumers are not affected by this. These can still be sent on paper or in the usual PDF format.

Criticism

The short-term introduction of the obligation to receive e-invoices has met with increasing criticism from trade and business associations. Criticism. Among other things, they are calling for a postponement of the e-invoicing obligation by one to two years. This should guarantee companies the necessary preparation time required for the technically complex implementation of the new provisions.

Critical voices are also being raised in politics itself: Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner, for example, criticized the volume of the law as "considerably smaller" than he had originally planned. Nevertheless, he, Green Party leader Omid Nouripour and Parliamentary State Secretary Katja Hassel emphasized the importance of the law, as it sends an urgent signal to the economy, which is needed now.

What entrepreneurs need to pay attention to now

Good preparation is the be-all and end-all. Entrepreneurs should therefore start looking more closely at the topic of e-invoicing now and prepare for it in the best possible way. The following steps can help you achieve these goals.