Contracts with start dates from 1 January 2017 onwards stipulate that suppliers to Dutch central government must submit electronic invoices or ‘e-invoices’. This obligation has been agreed with trade and industry representatives in line with the EU e-invoicing directive.
What is an e-invoice?
An e-invoice is a string of data fields in which each field has a specific purpose and meaning. E-invoices generated by one automated system can be received and processed by another party’s systems. Manual processing is no longer necessary.
Why is central government moving to e-invoicing?
Every year, Dutch central government receives 1.6 million invoices from its suppliers. Manually processing invoices received by post or e-mail is labour intensive and costly. The data may be incomplete and errors may arise.
Benefits of e-invoicing
The benefits of e-invoices include:
- Invoices are generated automatically
- Invoices are processed automatically and more quickly
- Automated processing is less prone to problems caused by errors or incomplete data
- It is cheaper and more eco-friendly: no costs are incurred for paper, printing or postage.
Who is required to submit e-invoices as of 1 January 2017?
All suppliers who have contracts with Dutch central government (i.e. ministries, their core departments and agencies) with start dates from 1 January 2017 onwards are required to submit e-invoices. Suppliers with contracts that have an earlier start date are permitted to keep using the invoicing method they had already agreed on. However, suppliers may switch to e-invoicing if the authority that contracted them agrees. Suppliers receiving purchase orders through an electronic procurement system will continue to submit their invoices in the same way that they have been doing.
E-invoicing authorities other than central government
In accordance with EU Directive no. 2014/55/EU, all European contracting authorities must be able to process e-invoices by the end of 2018. This means that e-invoicing is also being implemented by authorities other than central government (e.g. local government and all other contracting authorities). These authorities’ general terms and conditions for procurement will provide the legal basis for the use of e-invoicing. Many contracting authorities are expected to make e-invoicing obligatory at an earlier date, before the end of 2018.
How to submit e-invoices to Dutch central government
There are several ways to submit e-invoices to Dutch central government. Please consult this brochure: Electronic invoicing and the Dutch central government.
E-invoicing help desk
From 1 January 2017 onwards, suppliers can contact the central government e-invoicing help desk:
- to ask for information concerning the various methods of e-invoicing;
- to report ICT incidents in the e-invoicing channels;
- to ask any other questions regarding the processing of e-invoices.