Crea y Crece Law and the obligation to use electronic invoices.
On 29 September 2022, Law 18/2022, for the creation and growth of companies, was enacted. The Crea y Crece Law aims to facilitate the creation of new companies to improve competition for the benefit of consumers, productivity of companies, generate employment, improve supply and introduce electronic means in administrative processes.
In this regard, although the figure of the “electronic invoice” was already established in our legal system, Law 18/2022 “Crea y Crece Law” to make the use of this type of e-invoice compulsory for entrepreneurs and professionals, in order to promote digitalisation in the business fabric, especially in SMEs and self-employed workers, who represent “just over 61% of the Gross Added Value in Spain” (text taken from the regulation itself).
In fact, electronic invoicing had already been implemented for some sectors, before the “Crea y Crece Law”, since 1 January 2015 in Law 56/2007, of 27 December, on Measures to Promote the Information Society, article 1 of which states “measures to promote electronic invoicing and the use of electronic media…”, thus creating a precedent that opens the way to digitalisation in this sense, harmonising business management with the constant changes in digitalisation that are taking place at a global level.
This regulation already introduced significant changes for the private sector, specifically for electronic communication, financial, banking, insurance and mass supply services, among others, which are allowed to issue invoices by electronic means “in their commercial relations with other entrepreneurs and professionals”.
Shortly afterwards, in 2013, with the enactment of Law 25/2013 of 27 December on the promotion of electronic invoicing and the creation of the accounting register, the promotion of this means of invoicing was ratified, making its use mandatory for the Public Administration, with its matrices and exemptions. By advancing along this path, an unavoidable transformation towards the digital sphere in business management is evident, which is now more palpable with the enactment of the aforementioned regulation on “Crea y Crece Law“.
Having set out the background in our country, in 2022 we are already facing an imminent change where Law 18/2022 brings a modification in article 2 bis indicating that “all entrepreneurs and professionals must issue, send and receive electronic invoices with other entrepreneurs and professionals”, alluding to SMEs and self-employed companies.
In addition, the following is highlighted in this regulation, and included in the “Crea y Crece Law” :
- Availability of this information by recipients for a “period of four years… without incurring additional costs”, i.e., entrepreneurs and professionals must keep this information for this period so that, in the event of loss of information or whatever the reason, recipients may request a copy of the electronic invoices.
- Businesses providing services to the public “shall issue and send electronic invoices in their relations with individuals who agree to receive them or who have expressly requested them”. This will be the case regardless of the size of the workforce or turnover.
- Electronic invoices must comply with the provisions of the specific regulations that will be developed in the regulation establishing the requirements to be adopted by the computer or electronic systems and programmes that support the invoicing processes of entrepreneurs and professionals, and the standardisation of invoicing record formats, which is in a draft version (not yet approved) in which it is mentioned that invoices will contain QR codes, which will allow the information on these documents to be read automatically in the near future, thus including important advances in the digitalisation of accounting management systems.
- Penalties for non-compliance are established in this regulation, which leads to the “mandatory” use of these means of invoicing.
It is clear that the “Crea y Crece Law” establishes the obligation of electronic invoicing, but: does it apply already?, Are penalties set if invoices are not delivered electronically currently?
The answer to this last question is NO. If we refer to the eighth final provision of Law 18/2022 “entry into force”, it states that, in the case of electronic invoices between entrepreneurs and professionals, it will take effect as follows:
Entrepreneurs and professionals with:
- Annual turnover > 8 million euros: one year after the regulatory development is approved.
- Other entrepreneurs and professionals: two years after the regulatory development has been approved.
The entry into application of this regulation is subject to the approval of the regulation, which is expected to come into force in the second half of 2023, which means that it would not be applicable to small companies and professionals until 2025 and to large companies until one year after its approval.
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