Council Directive 2006/112/EC

Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax

Published under Risk Management
Title: Directive 2001/115/EC of 20 December 2001 amending Directive 77/388/EEC with a view to simplifying, modernising and harmonising the conditions laid down for invoicing in respect of value added tax (the ‘e-Invoicing Directive’).

The provisions of this Directive and others have since been bundled in the Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax; however, this coordination has brought no material changes with regard to electronic invoicing. Article numbers below refer to Directive 2006/112/EC.
Source reference: and
Topic: VAT harmonisation, specifically with regard to electronic invoicing
Direct / indirect relevance Indirect. The text couples the acceptability and validity of electronic invoices to certain objectives which will need to be assessed by the issuers and recipients of electronic invoices.
Scope: Directly applicable to all EU Member States
Legal force: EU Directive, requires transposition into national law
Affected sectors: Any commercial transactions subject to VAT regulations
Relevant provision(s): Article 233

1. Invoices sent or made available by electronic means shall be accepted by Member States provided that the authenticity of the origin and the integrity of their content are guaranteed by one of the following methods:
(a) by means of an advanced electronic signature within the meaning of point (2) of Article 2 of Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 on a Community framework for electronic signatures (1);
(b) by means of electronic data interchange (EDI), as defined in Article 2 of Commission Recommendation 1994/820/EC of 19 October 1994 relating to the legal aspects of electronic data interchange (2), if the agreement relating to the exchange provides for the use of procedures guaranteeing the authenticity of the origin and integrity of the data.
Invoices may, however, be sent or made available by other electronic means, subject to acceptance by the Member States concerned.


Article 246

The authenticity of the origin and the integrity of the content of the invoices stored, as well as their legibility, must be guaranteed throughout the storage period.
In respect of the invoices referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 233(1), the details they contain may not be altered and must remain legible throughout the storage period.

Article 247

1. Each Member State shall determine the period throughout which taxable persons must ensure the storage of invoices relating to the supply of goods or services in its territory and invoices received by taxable persons established in its territory.
2. In order to ensure that the conditions laid down in Article 246 are met, the Member State referred to in paragraph 1 may require that invoices be stored in the original form in which they were sent or made available, whether paper or electronic.
Additionally, in the case of invoices stored by electronic means, the Member State may require that the data guaranteeing the authenticity of the origin of the invoices and the integrity of their content, as provided for in the first paragraph of Article 246, also be stored.

Relevance to RM/RA: The cited articles require that, in a general sense, electronic invoices are considered acceptable if the technologies involved in their use can guarantee their integrity and authenticity. While EDI and advanced signatures are referred to as one possibility, the Directive leaves room for alternative solutions. In such cases, the parties involved will have to assess the permissibility of such solutions under their respective legal frameworks, and keeping into account the goals of authenticity and integrity.

Secondly, the electronic storage of electronic invoices is permissible provided that authenticity, integrity and legibility of the document is guaranteed, both for the main document and the relevant metadata. This implies due consideration of such elements as the involvement of trusted third parties, time stamping and signature solutions, and data format decisions.
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