E-invoicing within the Belgian public authorities: where are we now?

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Various measures to promote electronic invoicing have been taken by the various levels of Belgian government. Here is a brief overview.

The first structured initiatives by public authorities were part of the transposition of Directive 2010/45/EU which makes electronic and paper invoices legally equivalent. It was on this occasion that, in 2011, the Agency for Administrative Simplification launched the first version of the website you are currently using.

At federal level: pilot project, launch of Mercurius and Fedcom adaptations

In 2013, the Council of Ministers launched a pilot project for inbound e-invoicing to the public authorities. This pilot project gave rise to several positive developments including the launch of the Mercurius inter-federal platform. This "electronic mail room" receives electronic invoices sent to Belgian public entities and makes them available to their recipients.

In addition, the FedCom IT system, which handles the accounting for the main federal entities, was also adapted. These developments have created a solid basis for the deployment of Directive 2014/55/EU in Belgium, particularly at federal level. The Directive sets out the obligation for all contractors to be able to receive and process electronic invoices in accordance with the European Standard.

In Brussels: electronic invoices for all public contracts from November 2020

From 1 November 2020, only electronic invoices will be accepted for all public contracts awarded by the administrations and public organisations of the Brussels-Capital Region.

The Brussels Government also set up the Easybrussels administrative simplification agency in 2015. Its role is to disseminate the administrative simplification policy within all Brussels-Capital Region institutions. This involves coordinating regional and local actions in particular, but also actions at other levels of government.
Easybrussels thus supports the integration of the Mercurius platform within the Brussels institutions.

In Flanders: specific measures from 2014

Since 2014, the Flemish authorities have anticipated the transposition of Directive 2014/55/EU into Belgian law and have taken specific measures to introduce inbound e-invoicing throughout the region.

These measures incorporated the results of the pilot. All e-invoices sent to the Flemish government pass through Mercurius. In addition, the Flemish authorities have appointed a project team to coordinate the regional and local deployment of e-invoicing. Their guidelines and recommendations are published at https://overheid.vlaanderen.be/e-Invoicing.

In Wallonia: a circular to encourage registration on Mercurius

The Walloon Minister of Local Government issued a circular in February 2019. This encourages local authorities to register on the Mercurius platform. This is the first step in converting their processes to electronic invoicing. Their registration also allows a significant increase in the number of invoice recipients on Mercurius, which greatly contributes to the achievement of its strategic objectives.

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