eInvoicing in Finland
In February 2019, the Finnish parliament passed a law requiring public institutions to accept only e-invoices in line with the European standard (EN) on e-Invoicing. The transposition of the Directive 2014/55/EU was carried out with the e-invoicing Law, which entered into force on 1.4.2019 for central government bodies. The eInvoice obligation for Public Procurement Agencies started on 1.4.2020.
According to the law of the electronic invoicing of contracting entities and traders,
- The law does not apply if the use of electronic invoices exposes confidential information or jeopardizes the fundamental security interests of the government.
- The administration and the trader shall have the right to receive an invoice as an EN compatible e-Invoice from another contracting entity or trader upon request.
On the other hand, due to the health crisis triggered by Covid-19, the Finnish government made a statement on 18.3.2020 that it cancelled the April 1 date. Therefore, public institutions and Finnish companies continued to have the ability to exchange e-Invoices using the “old national” standard until April 1, 2021. As of this date, the Finnish government and local public administrations only accept and process EN compliant e-invoices.
From 6 April 2021, economic operators and service providers must modify, verify and process e-invoices that have been brought into line with the European e-invoicing standard. In the case of unstructured e-Invoices, the sender receives an error message. When the sender cannot send EN compliant e-invoices, a bilateral agreement can be concluded between the two trading partners.
eInvoice platform and eInvoice management solutions
Central, regional and local authorities receive e-invoices through the network of e-Invoice operators or three free platforms provided by the State Treasury:
- The Finnish Government e-invoice service: Via Handi
- II. Via Post Network Service (Posti) Platform. After registering on the platform, economic operators can create and send e-invoices. The system guarantees the successful submission of e-invoices to the contracting authorities.
- BASWARE Supplier Portal. Submitting e-invoices through the Basware Supplier Portal, economic operators must be registered as suppliers and approved as supplier candidates by public contracting authorities. This portal allows both Finnish and foreign companies to be registered as suppliers. e-Invoices store in the database for three months after they are created.
E-Invoice receiving and processing approach
E-invoices submitted to the government must comply with established content requirements. E-invoices sent as e-mail attachments are not accepted.
Today, most of the EN compliant e-Invoice processing and payments are done manually. At the government level, e-Invoices are used to facilitate payment execution. There is already a successful system in operation. The Finnish government has started to implement an e-Receipt for both businesses and consumers in Finland called eKuitti. The piloting of eKuitti began in the fall of 2019 and will go live in 2025.
The e-invoice application, on the other hand, is supported at the Nordic level in the Nordic Smart Government (NSG) project. In Finland, the NSG project is managed by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and Tax Authorities. The NSG project aims to automate the flow of financial information between companies in Nordic countries. Targeted e-invoicing benefits are operational savings with reduced cost and administrative burden.
E-invoice application at sub-central level contracting authorities
The current e-Invoicing model is based on the shared service approach. e-invoice exchange is provided by e-invoice service providers and the Peppol network. Information on the involvement of contracting authorities is available on the State Treasury’s website. Peppol is used to ensure receipt of e-invoices from non-domestic suppliers to all contracting authorities.
The situation regarding the implementation of the European e-invoicing Standard (EN)
From 1.4.2021 the Finnish Government only accepts e-invoices that comply with the European e-invoicing standard. If the invoice does not comply with the validation rules, it will not be delivered to the buyer. The e-invoice broker rejects the invoice and the sender receives an error message. If an error has occurred, the sender must correct the deficiencies in the invoice and send the invoice again.
Methods, versions and syntaxes available when sending an e-invoice:
- Finvoice 3.0 or TEAPPSXML 3.0 versions of national statements
- Syntax specified in the EU standard (EN 16931–1:2017) in accordance with the guidelines in ISO/IEC 19845 (UBL 2.1) and UN/CEFACT XML Cross Industry Invoice D16B
- Peppol network
Mandatory fields in the national format must be filled in accordance with the descriptions, for example, invoice number and invoice date. Thus, the invoices also provide the necessary information for a VAT invoice.
European standard codes must be included in e-Invoices unless the seller and buyer agree otherwise. Codes conforming to EN must be used in national e-Invoices. It is also possible to send e-invoices to government agencies using the Peppol network and thus Peppol BIS Billing 3.0.
Monitoring the eInvoice application
The government has set specific targets for e-Invoicing. Thus, it monitors invoice tracking monthly. Monitoring includes the total number of invoices sent to public institutions in electronic form. According to the latest data as of January 2021, 95% of invoices to public recipients are sent electronically.
Use of Core Invoicing Usage Specifications (CIUS) at the national level
A CIUS has been drafted to reflect government VAT requirements and is currently in effect. The government plans to have a single document presenting all expected business and VAT requirements for consultation by companies.