GoBD 2020 for archiving receipts.
3 June

GoBD 2020 for archiving receipts

the GoBDThe German tax law, especially the archiving of documents, has already undergone some changes as of January 2020. The principles for the proper keeping and storage of books, records and documents in electronic form as well as for data access have been simplified in some places for companies. We will try to give you an overview.

Digitise receipts with your smartphone

It was not explicitly prohibited, but the digitisation of receipts within the GoBD was not on the note. That has changed. Now you can simply photograph a paper receipt with your smartphone, just like using a scanner. The paper document can then basically be destroyed after this type of archiving.

Digitisation of receipts abroad

A special niche of the GoBD was also clarified. Since January 2020, it has been permitted to digitise documents abroad or have them digitised. This applies to documents that originated or were received there.

Conversion to other formats

The obligation to retain a document after conversion into another format has also been adapted and simplified. Before the change, the GoBD required that the original version and the version in the new format had to be kept. This has now been overturned. Now it is sufficient to archive the converted version. However, some conditions apply to the conversion:

  • No changes must have occurred
  • No information is lost
  • The process corresponds to a procedural documentation
  • The tax authority is not hindered in accessing data


It still applies: "Downwards" with regard to machine evaluation must not be converted. For example, vouchers in the  ZUGFeRD - format also remain as such.

GoBD and Cloud is compatible

Here, too, the Federal Ministry of Finance provided clarity. No matter where the digital solution for accounting and archiving is located: Everything is allowed: cloud, hybrid and on-premises. A mix of operating modes is also possible.

Access by the tax authority

If the tax office audits the accounting data, it can demand access via the accounting software or the ERP system of the auditee. If this access (Z1 or Z2) is not possible, the data should be generated on a data carrier (Z3). This also applies to a system that is currently no longer used. After a change of software, it is sufficient to be able to transfer the data of the old system as a data carrier (Z3) for another 5 years.

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