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Author's profile photo Francois Vigneron

XRechnung, ZUGFeRD and Peppol – All you wanted to know about the electronic invoice in Germany – What is the XRechnung? (part 2/4)

Knowing the context of electronic invoicing, let us now look at Germany. Cash discount is a beloved practice in Germany. It fosters punctual payment for suppliers and enables good return on cash for buyers. Unfortunately, the EU/CEN standard had classified cash discount data as superfluous. It was key to local adoption to solve that issue.

Luckily, countries are allowed by Peppol to create their own implementations. XRechnung (X-Invoice or cross invoice) is the local guideline for Germany, its Core Invoice Usage Specification (CIUS). XRechnung adds fields for cash discount to the EU standard and specifies whether certain fields of the EU standard are mandatory or optional for Germany. The technical terms for this are:

  • Conformant to the EU standard: This is the case of Germany, because a field has been added.
  • Compliant with the EU standard: only switching certain fields of the EU standard on and off. This is the case for most country specifications (so-called Core Invoice Usage Specifications, CIUS), where the EU standard has only slightly been amended, e.g. by setting certain fields from optional to mandatory and vice versa.

Illustration: The X-Rechnung conforms to EU standard.


Specifically, this means that a German authority must be able to receive the syntaxes from the EU standard but also from XRechnung, so not just two syntaxes, but four. That is ok as additional discount fields can easily be dealt with in incoming invoices.

If it was not for ZUGFeRD, Germany would now be perfectly in line with the intentions of Directive 2014/55/EU and there would be a clear path (a motorway) towards Peppol. The third part of this series therefore has to deal with ZUGFeRD.


The series is drawn from the German blog XRechnung, ZUGFeRD und Peppol – Alles, was Sie über die elektronische Rechnung wissen wollen (und vielleicht mehr).

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