e-invoicing

Caution

These regulations also apply to all traders from EU Member States and third countries in Austria.

Requirements for input tax deduction

A fundamental requirement for the input tax deduction of an enterprise is that it obtains from another enterprise

  • a delivery or other service domestically for its undertaking and
  • the tax amount is shown separately in an invoice to the enterprise in accordance with section 11 of the Umsatzsteuergesetz 1994 (UStG 1994).

The enterprise supplying the goods or services may also send an invoice in accordance with section 11 of the UStG electronically by email, as an email attachment, web download, PDF or text file, as a scanned paper invoice or as a fax invoice to another enterprise. This requires that the service recipient agrees to this type of invoicing. When issuing an invoice in several formats (e.g. as a PDF and xml file) or as a paper and e-invoice, a reference thereto must always be included in the invoice, in order to avoid tax liability by accounting.

A requirement for the existence of an e-invoice providing entitlement to input tax deduction is that the authenticity of the origin of the e-invoice, the integrity of its content and its legibility are guaranteed. This must be ensured by the service provider and the service recipient independently of one another in their area of authority.

  • Authenticity of origin means the assurance of the identity of the service provider or the issuer of the invoice.
  • Integrity of the content means that the information required under section 11 of the UStG has not been changed. However, the integrity of the content does not mean that the content of the invoice (e.g. address of the service provider) is actually correct or was correct when the invoice was issued.
  • Legibility means the content is comprehensible and understandable to people.

Every enterprise can freely choose the appropriate procedure to ensure these three requirements are met. The authenticity of the origin and the integrity of the content of an e-invoice are guaranteed in any case,

  • if the enterprise uses an in-house control procedure that creates a reliable audit trail between the invoice and the delivery or other service,
  • if an e-invoice is transmitted via the USP or via PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine),
  • if the invoice is provided with a qualified electronic signature or a qualified electronic seal, or
  • if the invoice is transmitted by electronic data interchange (EDI) in accordance with Article 2 of Annex 1 to Commission Recommendation 94/820/EC relating to the legal aspects of electronic data interchange, if the agreement on this data interchange provides for the use of procedures that ensure authenticity of origin and the integrity of the data.

This can be done as part of an in-house control procedure, e.g. by means of an appropriately set up accounting system, but also by manually comparing the invoice with the existing business documents (e.g. order, instructions, purchase contract, delivery note). However, a reliable audit trail must make it possible to clearly establish the connection between the respective e-invoice and the sale (delivery or service) on which it is based and therefore to check whether the entitlement to payment also rightly exists.

Furthermore, the authenticity of the origin and the integrity of the content can also be guaranteed, for example, by a qualified electronic signature or by means of electronic data interchange (EDI procedure). The additional transmission of a collective invoice as part of the EDI procedure is not necessary, but is permitted if reference is made to the fact that it is a mere summary of already invoiced sales and not an invoice reissue.

An advanced electronic signature is also sufficient if it is based on a certificate that can be checked by the signature verification service of the RTR or a comparable foreign agency, regardless of the agency at which the actual signature check takes place.

An e-invoice can be sent to the federal government as a service recipient via the Unternehmensserviceportal (USP) or via PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine). For reasons of synergy, the functions for the submission of e-invoices are also being made available to other public administrative units (e.g. provinces, municipalities, cities). There is currently no obligation for the contractual partners to submit e-invoices to, for example, provinces, cities or municipalities.

Caution

Contractual partners of the federal government in the trade of goods and services have been obliged since 1 January 2014 to submit invoices exclusively in electronically structured form. This requires registration in the Unternehmensserviceportal (USP).

Settlement by means of electronic credit is generally permitted provided that it meets the requirements mentioned. The service recipient can, for example, provide the credit with a qualified electronic signature. An electronic credit must be designated as such.

Retention obligation

The authenticity of the origin of the invoice, the integrity of its content and its legibility must be guaranteed by the service provider and the service recipient from the time the invoice is issued until the end of the retention period of 7 years. A reproduction of e-invoices that is true to the original is not required. Retention of the e-invoice as a printout in paper form is in any case permissible if the conditions mentioned are taken into account. In such a case, the e-invoices do not additionally have to be retained electronically.

Please note

If the e-invoice has been converted into another format, it must be clear from the stored data that there have been no changes to the content of the original file. Other retention obligations outside of the UStG remain unaffected.

Caution

Both the issuer of the invoice and the business service recipient must also keep evidence of the authenticity and the integrity of the data as part of the invoice (e.g. electronic signature, signature verification record and agreement regarding EDI procedure; in-house control procedure).

Related links

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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