What is the meaning of original invoice for an e-invoice?

Sometimes the expression “original invoice” is used for an e-invoice that has been received, for example, in EDIFACT format and following receipt converted into a format that makes the data readable by a reviewer.

Accounting and tax law uses the term “original content in an electronic invoice” instead. Original content means:

  • information that the invoice issuer included to meet the requirements for mandatory information under the Bookkeeping Act and the VAT Act, and 
  • further data required for the invoice to work as a business document.

Further data refers to information necessary to obtain payment from a buyer of goods or services, such as vendor’s/supplier’s identity, due date for payment, etc. If this information is received in electronic form, the recipient is obliged to preserve them in machine-readable form.

It is permitted to transfer and convert data into a format that is suitable for the recipient’s system, provided that the data are not altered in connection with the transfer and conversion.

The recipient is free to print out the data in ordinary readable form for internal administrative processing, but it is the original content of the received machine-readable form which must be archived for inspection and examination afterwards. If additional notes are made on the printed invoice which are accounting information, such as account numbers, then the printed invoice must also be saved and given a reference to the electronic invoice.