Public and administrative law
The Royal Decree of 9 March 2022 laying down detailed rules concerning the obligation for economic operators to use electronic invoicing in the context of public procurement and concession contracts makes electronic invoicing mandatory in public procurement and concession contracts.
At the federal level, the Federal Public Service Strategy & Support (FPS BOSA), which is responsible for digital transformation in Belgium, has recognised legal existence of electronic invoicing in 2013.
Since the transposition into Belgian law Directive 2010/45/EU, electronic and paper invoices are to be equivalent. Regardless of the medium, an invoice is considered to be an invoice if it contains the three basic characteristics following:
Invoices, whether in digital or paper form, have the same value.
There are now specific rules on electronic invoicing in public procurement and concession contracts.
Among these rules, deriving mainly from Directive 2014/55/EU and the Act of 17 June 2016 on public procurement, there is the rule that the obligation to send an invoice electronically, contained in Article 14/1 of the Act.
The decree of 9 March 2022 regulates the entry into force of certain provisions of the law of 17 June 2016 on public procurement, including article 14/1 containing the obligation to send an invoice electronically. This article provides for an obligation for economic operators to send their invoices electronically to contracting authorities.
Article 1er of the Order provides for a progressive entry into force of the new rules according to the type of public contract as follows:
The terms "invoices in an electronic manner" are defined as follows: " an invoice that has been issued, transmitted and received in a structured electronic form that allows it to be automatic processing and electronics "(art 2, 58° of the 2016 Act; emphasis added).
It appears from the preparatory work for the law of 7 April 2019 that this definition excludes a .PDF file, in particular on the grounds that a .PDF file does not meet the automatic processing functionality.
It should be added that there are two exceptions to this obligation of electronic invoicing in art. 14/1 of the 2016 law.
For more information, please contact Jean LAURENT (firstname.lastname@example.org), David SZAFRAN (email@example.com) and Charline SERVAIS (firstname.lastname@example.org ), lawyers, CEW & Partners