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KSeF in the TSL industry: Dead creation or revolution?

TSLKSeF in the TSL industry: Dead creation or revolution?

After many years of preparation, the National e-Invoice System (KseF) will finally become widespread, and the first group of companies will be obliged to use the KSeF in July 2024. The digitization of invoices is intended to streamline the flow of documents, reduce their processing costs, and increase security. In the TSL industry, electronic document circulation could help eliminate one of the biggest pain points of the industry, i.e., long payment terms.

The National e-Invoice System (KseF) is the name of a platform for VAT taxpayers, created to issue structured invoices electronically. A structured invoice is a digital document in .xls format generated via a government platform, which distinguishes it from standard electronic invoices sent by email to contractors as part of private correspondence.

Entrepreneurs gained the possibility to issue structured invoices in 2022, however, this was a voluntary solution accompanying standard settlements. On July 1, 2024, the use of the KSeF platform will become mandatory for large companies, and from January 1, 2025, small and medium-sized enterprises will also be obliged to issue invoices through it.

Government and Entrepreneurs Benefit

The centralization process offered by the KSeF platform aims to primarily seal off the Polish tax system and reduce the so-called “VAT gap”. The benefits for the state are clear, but the system also offers significant convenience for its users–entrepreneurs, including reducing the basic VAT refund period from 60 to 40 days, speeding up invoice circulation, and automating accounting processes,” says Agnieszka Nosal, Marketing & Sales Area Leader at

KSeF users will also not have to send a Uniform Control File, and invoices issued by them will be stored in the system for 10 years, greatly simplifying the archiving process. Using KSeF and implementing it into the daily operations of a company will require technological changes and training, but all indications are that entrepreneurs are heading for a positive change.

Plague of Late Payments in the TSL Industry

The introduction of KSeF is a chance to combat one of the biggest problems of the TSL industry, which are the long payment terms. This is related to the specifics of the sector, where the vast majority of orders have an international character. This means that transport documents, which are the basis for settlement, also arrive at the company with a delay, and in practice it is their arrival that determines the start of the payment term counting.

As explained by Agnieszka Nosal, such practices are the domain of large contractors who, using their dominant position, are able to impose conditions that are beneficial to them:

For carriers, the obligation to wait for money has obvious,negative consequences, from delays in paying their own obligations to the risk of creating debts and the problems they cause.

The long wait for payment is not the only problem related to paper settlements. Transport orders often contain clauses imposing the deadline for the delivery of invoices and other documents, which if not met, result in the assessment of contractual penalties.

KSeF Will Not Change Industry Habits

Mandatory digitization of invoices is a chance to streamline and speed up document circulation – an invoice issued on a specific day automatically reaches the recipient, so the date of receipt equals the date of counting the payment term. In practice, the use of this procedure requires the consent of both parties. KSeF is a platform for issuing invoices and allows for their receipt that way, provided that the invoice payer agrees to it. If they do not, the invoice issued via the platform must be delivered to them differently, for example by email or post. Therefore, all VAT payers will be obliged to issue invoices through the system, but their receipt this way is purely voluntary. Considering that the vast majority of settlements with payers in the TSL industry are still made on paper, it is hard to assume that the government platform will force a change in these habits.

Is e-CMR a Breakthrough in Transport Digitization?

The best evidence of the TSL industry’s attitude towards electronic payments is the low popularity of electronic consignment notes.

Although the e-CMR has been in use for four years, provisions of the Road Transport Act and Transport Law do not regulate its operation in Polish law. In theory, carriers can therefore use an electronic consignment note, but in practice, they must still carry a stack of paper documents,” the expert notes.

Problems with the e-CMR are not just specific to Poland – according to estimates, electronic consignment notes account for only 1% of all those used by carriers. However, this situation is expected to change in August 2021 when the Regulation of the European Parliament and Council (EU) 2020/1056 of July 15, 2020, on electronic freight transport information (eFTI) comes into effect. With its implementation, all control authorities operating in the EU will have to be able to receive electronic transport information and will be obliged to accept digital versions of transport documents. This means that carrying paper documentation will not be necessary and the entire document circulation process will become digital. The benefits of this solution are identical to those that KSeF should bring – time savings, reducing costs related to the preparation and storage of paper documents, better control over their flow, and ultimately also faster payments.

2024 will therefore be a time of trial for the transport industry, which has so far been reluctant to digitize. If the implementation of new regulations will actually improve payments in the sector, we will be in for one of the largest revolutions in the modern history of the TSL industry,” says Agnieszka Nosal.

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