The rules on conversion of invoice form and format are not harmonized across the EU and EEA.
Thus, even though the majority of these countries allow for an invoice to be converted from paper to electronic form upon receipt, and at the same time for discarding the paper version, this is often permitted only subject to certain conditions. One of these conditions is well founded in the general invoicing rules of the VAT Directive and present in all countries either explicitly or implicitly, namely to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the invoice during and after conversion.
Other requirements may lead to the inhibition of conversion in modern e-invoicing systems, e.g. the pre-condition to store the original paper invoice for a given period of time in parallel with the scanned version.
There are also still a couple of countries in Europe that do simply not allow for conversion of received paper invoices.
In the last couple of years, we have seen a number of countries changing their legislation in this respect. However, there is no clear trend as to making these rules more or less stringent.
Other countries recently regulated the involvement of qualified service providers for these cases, e.g. Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Slovakia.
In Spain, certified digitization has been fostered by the Tax Agency since 2007, and nowadays accounts more than 100 certified solutions.