Electronic invoicing in Luxembourg

Introduction

On 14 December 2021, the Law of 13 December 2021 amending the Law of 16 May 2019 on electronic invoicing in public procurement and concession contracts was published in the Official Journal. It makes it mandatory for economic operators to send their invoices electronically to the State in the context of public procurement and concession contracts.

Legal context

On 14 December 2021, the Law of 13 December 2021 amending the Law of 16 May 2019 on electronic invoicing in public procurement and concession contracts was published together with the Grand-Ducal Regulation of 13 December 2021 fixing the common delivery network and alternative technical solutions used for electronic invoicing in public procurement and concession contracts. The new law therefore amends the Law of 16 May 2019 on electronic invoicing in public procurement and concession contracts, which in turn transposes into Luxembourg law Directive 2014/55/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on electronic invoicing in public procurement.

The Directive was intended, among other things, to prevent the proliferation of standards and file formats for electronic invoicing within the EU and thus to help combat the fragmentation of the European internal market. It provides for the definition of a common European standard for the semantic data model of an electronic invoice and syntaxes, that is to say, XML formats, to be used on a mandatory basis. The European standard and the list of the two permitted syntaxes have been set by Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2017/1870 of 16 October 2017 on the publication of the reference of the European standard on electronic invoicing and the list of its syntaxes pursuant to Directive 2014/55/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council. The European standard on electronic invoicing is EN 16931-1:2017, which is namely published on the site of the ILNAS (Luxembourg Institute of Standardisation, Accreditation, Safety and Quality of Products and Services).

Both the 2019 Law and the 2021 Law apply only to public procurement and therefore only create obligations for the stakeholders in public procurement contracts: on the one hand, economic operators, namely mostly businesses, and on the other hand, the contracting authorities and entities, that is to say, the public-sector bodies which come within the scope of the Law of 8 April 2018 on public procurement, as amended.

On 14 December 2021 the Grand-Ducal Regulation of 13 December 2021 determining the common delivery network and the alternative technical solutions used for electronic invoicing in public procurement and concession contracts was also published in the Official Journal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This Regulation, adopted on the basis of the Law of 13 December 2021, selects as the common delivery network to be used by public-sector bodies for the automated receipt of electronic invoices the European Peppol network, managed and maintained by OpenPeppol, an international non-profit association governed by Belgian law. It also determines that the alternative non-automated technical solutions available to economic operators for manually issuing and transmitting electronic invoices are two types of online forms described in more detail in the section "Technical solutions".

Obligations

The Law of 13 December 2021 amending the Law of 16 May 2019 provides for the following obligations:

  • for economic operators: to issue and transmit only electronic invoices, that is to say, XML files or files containing XML, which are compliant in the context of public procurement;
  • for public-sector bodies: to use the common delivery network for the automated receipt of electronic invoices Peppol and, as long as they do not have their own access point to Peppol, the access point of the CTIE (Government IT Centre);
  • for ministries and state administrations: to use the CTIE’s access point to Peppol.

The obligation for economic operators to invoice electronically is staggered over time. Thus, it applies:

  • to large economic operators, 5 months after the entry into force of the law, i.e. on 18 May 2022;
  • to medium-sized economic operators, 10 months after entry into force, i.e. on 18 October 2022; and
  • to small and newly established economic operators, 15 months after entry into force, i.e. on 18 March 2023.

The Law of 16 May 2019 had moreover already created an obligation for public-sector bodies to receive and process compliant electronic invoices from 18 April 2019 or 18 April 2020 (sub-central contracting authorities, i.e. mainly municipalities, and contracting entities) in the context of public procurement.

Technical solutions

The european standard and the two permitted syntaxes

Each electronic invoice must comply with European standard EN 16931-1 :2017 and one of the following two syntaxes:

  • XML UBL (Universal Business Language) defined in standard ISO/IEC 19845:2015 and maintained by the non-profit association OASIS Open;
  • XML UN/CEFACT CII (Cross Industry Invoice) developed by CEFACT-UN as specified in XML Schemas 16B (SCRDM — CII).

Peppol 

Peppol is the common delivery network chosen to enable the automated issue, transmission and receipt of electronic invoices. It is managed and maintained by the international non-profit association under Belgian law OpenPeppol.

Peppol is the result of a European project initiated by the European Commission and EU Member States and funded through an EU programme. The project was started in 2008 by a few Member States and the first transmissions via the network were made in 2010. The network is by default European and even international and therefore allows cross-border exchanges. The network was set up to allow the secure transmission in structured format (XML) of all the documents which need to be exchanged in the context of public procurement. The electronic invoice is therefore only one of the types of document which can be exchanged via Peppol.

 

Peppol is used nowadays in some 40 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and Africa, and the number of network members and countries using it is growing. The success of Peppol is largely due to its increasing use in the context of electronic invoicing.

 

Peppol is designed as an open, interoperable network by default which allows any body, once it has taken the necessary steps to have an access point to the network, to communicate automatically in both directions (sending and receiving) with any other member of the network without having to make any additional specific effort if it wants to send or receive files from a new member organisation with which it did not have an exchange before. Peppol is therefore by default cross-border and allows by default not only exchanges between private and public-sector bodies, but also exchanges between businesses themselves and the exchange of structured documents other than electronic invoices. The network is also by default secure, in particular by encrypting communications between two access points, and guarantees non-repudiation by default and uses by default an exchange format for electronic invoices which complies with the most recent version of the European standard on electronic invoicing, which defines the semantic data model of an electronic invoice, as well as with one of the syntaxes on the most recent list published by the European Commission, currently being Peppol BIS Billing 3.10.

Peppol options available to economic operators

An economic operator has several options to make itself fit to issue and transmit compliant electronic invoices via Peppol:

  • it can rent a Peppol access point from one of the many specialist service providers already active in the field;
  • it can set up its own Peppol access point, an approach which probably makes sense only for organisations of a certain size with their own experienced and sufficiently well-resourced IT department;
  • it can use one of the invoicing or accounting software packages (ERP), of which there is an increasing number given the growing success of Peppol, which allow by default the sending of compliant invoices via Peppol.

Alternative non-automated technical solutions 

In order to meet the needs of economic operators, which do not yet have the capacity to issue and transmit electronic invoices automatically via Peppol, alternative non-automated technical solutions that allow only the manual, individual issue and transmission of electronic invoices will be made available to economic operators before the obligation to invoice electronically applies to the first economic operators.

The online form for issuing and transmitting a compliant electronic invoice by manually entering the core elements of the invoice in the form fields and submitting the completed form is available on Guichet.lu.

List of public sector bodies that can be reached via Peppol

Please find hereafter the link to the current list of public sector bodies (PSBs) that can be addressed via Peppol and their respective unique Peppol identifiers (EndpointID).

Each member of the Peppol network, as well as its respective unique identifier to be used for addressing it, can also be found in the following directory if the access point responsible for this member has indeed published this information in the Peppol directory: http://directory.peppol.eu

All PSBs accessing the Peppol network via the Peppol access point provided by the CTIE are automatically and always published and available for consultation in the Peppol directory mentioned above.

List of large and medium-sized economic operators

Please find hereafter the link to a list, generated on the basis of data from the Central Balance Sheet Office managed by STATEC, of large and medium-sized economic operators who are already required to issue and transmit electronic invoices to the PSBs as of 18th May 2022, respectively as of 18th October 2022.

Since not all types of economic operators are legally obliged to file a balance sheet with the Central Balance Sheet Office, the above file, although very complete, is not entirely exhaustive.

Glossary

Public procurements

Contracts for pecuniary interest concluded in writing between one or more economic operators and one or more contracting authorities and having as their object the execution of works, the supply of products or the provision of services (Art. 3 of the amended law of 8 April 2018 on public procurement): any invoice sent to a public sector body under a written contract therefore falls within the scope of the law and must be a compliant electronic invoice, regardless of the amount and the type of procedure used to conclude the public contract.

Economic operator

An undertaking or other body which, under a public contract, carries out works, supplies products or provides services.

Public-sector body

A body (the State, municipalities, bodies governed by public law, associations formed by such authorities or bodies governed by public law, etc.) which, in the context of a public contract, purchases works, products or services.

Electronic invoice

An invoice which has been issued, transmitted and received in a structured electronic format which allows for its automatic and electronic processing, any equivalent request for payment which fulfils the same conditions or any document or message which modifies the original invoice and makes specific and unambiguous reference to it which meets the same conditions, namely an XML file or one containing XML and not simply an unstructured PDF, Word or other document which does not contain all the elements of the invoice as separate and standardised attributes which can be read automatically by a computer.

Compliant electronic invoice

An electronic invoice compliant with the most recent version of the European standard on electronic invoicing which defines the semantic data model of an electronic invoice as well as with one of the syntaxes on the most recent list published by the European Commission.

Syntax

The machine readable language or dialect used to represent the data elements contained in an electronic invoice, that is to say in practice, a specific XML format.

Delivery network

A technical solution which enables the automated issue, transmission and receipt of electronic invoices.

Large economic operators

Economic operators, which exceed, on the balance-sheet of 2019, the limits of at least two of the following three criteria:

  • balance-sheet total: EUR 20 million,
  • net turnover: EUR 40 million,
  • number of full-time staff employed on average during the financial year: 250.

Medium-sized economic operators 

Economic operators, which do not exceed, at the balance-sheet of 2019, the limits of at least two of the following three criteria:

  • balance-sheet total: EUR 20 million,
  • net turnover: EUR 40 million,
  • number of full-time staff employed on average during the financial year: 250.

Small economic operators 

Economic operators, which do not exceed, at the balance-sheet of 2019, the limits of at least two of the following three criteria:

  • balance-sheet total: EUR 4.4 million,
  • net turnover: EUR 8.8 million,
  • number of full-time staff employed on average during the financial year: 50.

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