Study on landscape of XML syntaxes

Published on: 26/09/2019
Last update: 27/09/2019

Objective and scope

This study is providing an overview of the most relevant XML specifications used in message exchange between applications. It includes short descriptions of international standards including UN/CEFACT, UBL, XBRL, LegalXML, NIEM. Based on desk research this list has been enriched with relevant standards that have been produced by Member States. The following ISA² participating countries are covered in this study: Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus.


The study contains one table for each country and each table includes information about the name of the standard, a short description, the link to the organisation that created the standard and the link to the XML schema. There is a large variety of XML standards covering the following areas:

  • Tax services
  • Administration online services
  • Data management services
  • Exit control data standards
  • Electronic transmission and receive messages
  • Legislation
  • Accounting services
  • Data structures of politically important persons
  • General e-services
  • Economic entities and
  • State authorities

The study does not cover the XML standards for e-invoicing and e-procurements as these standards are covered in another study that is available in joinup.

Some of the difficulties that we encountered are:

  • Language barrier;
  • Insufficient documentation; and
  • No direct links to the XML schemas.


Finally, the conclusions of this study are:

  • In the majority of countries, there is not a dedicated public organisation that is responsible to produce XML specifications for message exchange.
  • Some countries have produced guidelines for producing XML specifications, which they follow in order to achieve syntactic interoperability.
  • In the majority of the countries, they do not re-use concepts from relevant International standards or the ISA² core vocabularies.
  • Re-using existing standards is a well-known best practice to achieve syntactic and semantic interoperability. Only in the cases of e-invoicing and e-procurement, we have identified cases that MSs are using the UBL and the PEPPOL standard.
  • What is common in all MSs is that they have produced XML specifications that concern the TAX application and TAX refund processes.


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