Leveraging EN-16931 for e-invoicing compliance in and outside Europe

Leveraging EN-16931 for e-invoicing compliance in and outside Europe

The European Directive on electronic invoicing for public authorities (EN 2014/55 / ​​EU) defined a standard invoice (European Norm core invoice aka EN-16930) and made its support mandatary for all public organizations throughout the European Union.

At the same time, a number of building blocks have been defined as EIF (European Interoperability Framework) which, combined with the EN-16931, provide a definition for VAT compliance.

Here is a look at how the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) helps to facilitate transaction compliance.

Legal context

The EU has facilitated this with the 2010/45 amendment to the VAT Directive and with the e-invoicing directive 2014/55.

Invoice standard with a semantic model

Semantic interoperability ensures that the precise format and meaning of exchanged data and information is preserved and understood throughout exchanges between parties.

Additional specifications to the model

On a document level, a number of countries have defined a national CIUS, specifying additional transaction compliance rules. These rules that are applied before sending a document to a buyer, do add compliance comfort and are updated following a bi-annual schedule.

Exchange infrastructure

The standard addresses the interconnection services, exchange and communication protocols, and offers guidelines for message transport.

Process integration

The standard does not define how a supplier or buyer needs to organize the internal work processes. Organizations need to be able to transpose these, but by defining a data model that contains a specific set of data it aims to support the most common processes.

A number of member states have mandated B2G invoicing, requiring suppliers to implement e-invoicing. The following tables present an overview of e-invoicing regulations in different countries.

B2G e-invoicing mandates by European Union member states

CountryAdditional syntaxesCompliancePlatformPeppol
BelgiumPeppolMercurius portalYes
EstoniaCII, EVSPeppolmultipleYes
FinlandCII, FinvoicePeppolmultipleYes
FranceCII,  FacturXCIUSChorus ProYes
GermanyCII, ZUGferdCIUSweb portals, e-mailpartially
NetherlandsCIUSLogius DigipoortYes
PortugalCIICIUSB2AP AS2, web services
SlovakiaPeppolslovensko.sk e-mail
SloveniaCII e-Slog 2.0ExtensionPPAYes


B2G e-invoicing mandates outside the European Union

Country Additional syntaxes Compliance Platform Peppol 
Iceland CII Peppol FJS portal Yes 
Switzerland CII, GS1, ZUGferd   eDirectory.ch  
Norway EHF Peppol  Yes 


Public body receivers ready for e-invoicing, no mandate for suppliers

Country Additional syntaxes Compliance Platform Peppol 
Cyprus  Peppol Ariadni Yes 
Ireland EDIFACT Peppol  Yes 
Latvia CII Peppol eAddress Yes 
Liechtenstein PDF Peppol e-mail  
Malta  Peppol  Yes 
UK-England CII, EDIFACT, PDF  multiple  
UK-Wales CII   Yes 

A few notes

On syntax:

  • Every country in the European Union supports EN-16931 in UBL syntax
  • For historic reasons, national syntaxes can still be supported
  • Some countries have an EDIFACT legacy
  • CII is syntax is not generally supported


  • Some countries have defined their specific rules as a national CIUS or refer to the Peppol CIUS
  • Besides specific network rules, the Peppol CIUS includes national rules for a number of countries


  • Some of the countries have selected Peppol as their main exchange standard
  • Most countries have organized a bespoke platform or exchange standard
  • Most countries have a Peppol gateway established that is interfaced to their internal platform

What this all means is that by supporting the UBL syntax as well as EIF (with Peppol being the dominant implementation) most of the B2G compliance requirements are fulfilled.

As Peppol is present in EMEA, the same standards can be re-used for B2G implementation to non-European countries.

See also: Making use of the European Norm for all your document exchanges? Smart!

Other regions

Country Additional syntaxes Compliance Platform Peppol 
New Zealand   GST  Yes 
Australia   GST  Yes 
Japan  PINT EIPA Yes 
Singapore  GST InvoiceNow Yes 
Malaysia  PINT  Yes 
United Arab Emirates  In development  Yes 


Get help for global eInvoicing compliance

If you want to assess your transactions for compliance, Axway eInvoicing is a certified Peppol Access Point and can help you by offering the following services:

  • Translate to / from ERP formats with UBL, CII, ZUGferd
  • User our free validation tool supporting all CIUS specifications for conformance testing
  • Reach assessment where for suppliers and buyers Peppol presence is validated in bulk

So, does complying with the EN-16931 norm provide compliance in all countries? The answer is no. Besides VAT reporting requirements (SAF-T), a growing number of countries is imposing clearance models for B2B transactions. (We will address these in separate posts.)

That said, it’s a good strategy to use EN-16931 as a cornerstone for your end-to-end digital strategy to achieve touchless processing and payment acceleration. An experienced provider will have the expertise and resources to navigate your cross-border invoicing flows for both B2G and B2B.

Axway eInvoicing enables companies to comply with an evolving list of B2B and B2G invoicing requirements around the world. Fully integrated with existing e-invoicing regulations, this cloud-based solution allows for continuous compliance and the agility to meet diverse and evolving national and legal requirements, now and in the future.

Get in touch to take control of your e-invoicing process to ensure not just global compliance but also maximized efficiency and cost reduction with a 100% digital solution.

Handle e-invoicing in a global, standards-driven, and always up-to-date manner. Learn more about Axway eInvoicing.