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Invoice Types and Requirements in Germany

An invoice is an essential document in the world of business. It allows a company to highlight the cost of goods or services a client is expected to pay for. Similarly, it allows for the calculation of taxes. Therefore, all countries have invoice types and invoicing requirements. Germany also has its specific needs based on standards within the country and the EU (European Union) zone.

German Invoice Types

Like most advanced countries, Germany has made drastic changes to the types of invoices used in the country. As such, electronic invoicing is predominately used in this country. With this change, over 30 billion electronic invoices are used in this nation. In Germany, two main kinds of invoices are used. These documents are ZUGFeRD and Xrechnung, which started working in 2017.


The ZUGFeRD is the invoice that conforms to the EU standards. It has a special section that makes it worthwhile as an electronic invoice in the public sphere. In addition, it can be used as either PDF or XML, which makes it suitable for electronic processes. As a result, every company can use this document for invoicing requirements.


Xrechnung is an invoice in the form of XML. It is another digital invoice that is used in Germany. Also, it started operating in 2014. Its main advantage is that it can be processed and sent automatically.

German Invoicing Requirements

German invoicing requirements are primarily based on European standards. Nonetheless, there are some differences between the two systems. For example, the invoicing regulations in Germany require a company to preserve electronic invoices for a minimum of 10 years. This time varies from one country to another. Similarly, Germany has a unique invoicing platform referred to as ZRE. This platform performs an intermediary service by providing linkage between management providers and public organizations. Likewise, the platform ensures all submissions are unique by processing each using a central system. There are several invoicing requirements in Germany. Some of the essential requirements are highlighted below.

  • The invoice does not require a signature to be valid. Therefore, an individual or a company does not need to sign an invoice to be valid.
  • The VAT number for a supplier is required. However, invoices made for small companies do not need this number.
  • An invoice must contain payment details to ensure payment.
  • The higher the amount stated on an invoice, the more complex it becomes.
  • An invoice must contain a date to be valid.
  • There should be a unique invoice number for each invoice. This information makes documentation more accessible.
  • The addresses of the buyer and supplier must be captured on the document.
  • A good invoice contains a detailed description of the products or services involved in a transaction. Therefore, the quantity and price of each item must be stated if it applies.
  • The type and amount of tax must be captured on an invoice to be valid. The tax determines the total amount due.
  • Information about shipment or delivery must be stated on an invoice.

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