Telematic Billing

In this article, we will address the following questions:

What is the relationship between telematic invoices, digital invoices and electronic invoices?

What are the obligations of companies that issue and receive electronic invoices using a telematic billing process?

Are there special considerations for amended invoices?

What are the principal Spanish laws that regulate telematic billing and electronic invoices?

What is an eBill in this context?

First of all, we want to point out that there are many synonyms for telematic billing: telematic invoicing, digital billing, digital invoicing, electronic billing, electronic invoicing, e-billing, e-invoicing, etc. Although they appear to be similar, there may be subtle differences between them. If you would like further information on this subject, you can consult the following articles: “Digital Invoices” and “Electronic Invoices (e-invoices.”

How Are Telematic Invoices Related to Digital Invoices and Electronic Invoices?

When we refer to a telematic invoice, we are simply describing the process of sending invoices remotely through electronic means (telematic remittance), without the invoice itself necessarily being telematic in nature. An electronic invoice, on the other hand, is one which complies with the provisions of Spain’s Directive number 115/2001 (or other national regulations that supersede it, such as Royal Decree number 1496/2003) and as such, fulfills specific criteria for integrity and authenticity. Lastly, a digital invoice is one that includes a digital signature, one of the most effective ways of ensuring the authenticity and integrity required by regulations. For this reason, we can conclude that a digital invoice is a particular type of electronic invoice.

We could speak of telematic billing without mentioning telematic invoices; however, in the case of the terms “invoice” and “billing,” it is typical to use them together with the adjectives “digital” and “electronic.” With regard to the factors that must be taken into consideration in the electronic billing process, it is fitting to make a distinction as to whether the company’s principal role is that of issuing invoices or receiving them.

What Are the Obligations of Companies that Issue Electronic Invoices Through a Telematic Billing Process?

To conserve the original data of the invoices (whether a copy or a matrix); it isn’t necessary to conserve the invoices as such, but rather the “matrix” or the data which is used to generate them;

To ensure their legibility in their original format;

To guarantee full access to the invoices: display, selective search, online copying or downloading and printing;

To avail of software that permits verification of the signature and the sender’s identity, as well as the validity of the certificate;

To electronically sign the invoice or delegate this action to an outside agency (third-party billing) or to the Recipient (self-billing); and lastly,

To have the recipient’s full consent to employ this billing method.

What Are the Obligations of Companies that Receive Electronic Invoices?

The primary obligation is to conserve the invoices that have been received in their original, electronic format, even if internal conversion of the data was previously required. This role may also be delegated to a third party.

Invoices may be maintained in printed format with the required PDF-417 graphic marks or they may be stored in another medium. A paper transcription of an invoice is also a valid option, as long as it contains a reference to some means of accessing the electronic original online.

In 2007, the (Spanish) Tax Agency published Mandate number EHA/962/2007, which defines the approved method for performing Certified Digitalization, among other considerations. Paper invoices that have been digitalized in accordance with the procedures described in this mandate may be subsequently destroyed.

How Are Amended Invoices Handled in the Telematic Billing Process?

In general, billing regulations (whether electronic or otherwise) must be taken into consideration in order to resolve the issues related to amended or corrected invoices:

Amended invoices must directly reflect the correction being made – even when they are generated using all of the data from an invoice that already takes the correction into account, which is no longer mandatory. It is permissible for returned merchandise or packaging to be indicated on an invoice (un-amended) by a minus sign, which means that regular invoices may show negative totals.

In the case of returned merchandise or changes in the tax base in relation to the original invoice, the amended invoice must specify this difference in the tax base, showing negative or positive amounts, as applicable. It is permissible to include corrections for more than one invoice in a single amended invoice, as long as all of the original invoice numbers are indicated.

In Article 70 of the Regulations on Value Added Tax, the most recent draft clarifies the method of compiling amended invoices in a company’s invoice and VAT registries.

What is an eBill?

In 2007, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce and the Tax Agency published Mandate number PRE/2971/2007, which defines the mandatory format for encrypting electronic invoices when they are issued to General State Administration organizations. This format, based on XML and referred to as an e-invoice (or eBill), is quickly becoming the norm in Spain.

Implementation of electronic billing requires collaboration with experts, who can resolve any existing problems quickly and efficiently. This necessity is reinforced by the fact that many companies are still offering obsolete or non-compliant electronic billing services, especially with regard to the most appropriate method of managing electronic signatures.

Among other software, Pixelware has created diverse Business Solutions for the Electronic Management of documents, which facilitate compliance with the regulations governing electronic invoices and telematic billing.


Write a comment