The rules on conversion of invoices and receipts from paper to digital support are not harmonized across the EU and EEA. And should.
Thus, even though the majority of EU and EEA countries allow for an invoice to be converted from paper to electronic form upon receipt, and allow to discard 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 2006/112/EC (after changes defined in Directive 45/2010) and present in all countries either explicitly or implicitly, namely to ensure the authenticity, integrity and legibility of the invoice during and after conversion.
Other requirements may lead to discourage the paper-to-digital conversion where the tax authorities impose 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 small number of countries in Europe that do not allow for conversion of received paper invoices.
In Spain, scanning of inbound paper invoices, is allowed with the coined term of “Certified Digitization” and described in Order EHA/962/2007 which develops certain provisions on electronic invoicing and electronic storage of invoices. Certified digitization has been fostered by the Spanish Tax Agency since 2007, and nowadays accounts more than 100 certified solutions.
Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 harmonizes electronic signature and other Trust Services across all european countries. Maybe in future revision one of the harmonized Trust Services could be Certified digitization of documents and requirements could be common for all countries regardless of the documets being invoices or not.
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