If you issue an invoice to a customer, this is not only important for you but it is the basis for your customer to deduct this VAT amount ( as so called “Vorsteuer”). Precondition for the deduction is an invoice which contains all legal data. You are obliged to issue such an invoice to your customer.
This check list contains the necessary prescriptions for issueing an invoice to your customer.
Everything at a glance:
I. Mandatory information of invoices
1. Your name
As a company which issues an invoice you have to specify your complete name. If you are no one-man business but a partnership company or a company with limited liability the name of the company must be mentioned in the invoice.
2. Your address
The invoice must contain your complete business address.
3. Customer name and address
The invoice must contain name and address of the customer. The customer is the receiver of your service. He wants to get back the VAT as so called “Vorsteuer” from the Financial Authorities. The address can be a P.O.Box or a large custom address.
4. Tax number or VAT-ID
Your invoice has to contain either your tax number or your VAT-Identification number.
5. Date of invoice
The invoice has to contain a date. This is the date when you issue the invoice.
6. Invoice number
In addition you have to use a consecutive invoice number, so the tax office can be sure that an invoice is issued only once. It is recommendable to use consecutive numbers.
7. Indication of service provided
You have to specify the service provided. If you deliver goods you have to mention the quantity and the commercial description of the delivered goods.
If you provide an other service you have to describe your service in detail. General description like “consult” or “craftsman working” is not sufficient.
If the description of you service is too comprehensive you can refer to the underlying contract wehre the service is described in detail.
8. Time of service
Furthermore you have to indicate the date when you carried out the service. Here it is sufficient to mention the month you provided the service. The date of the service is the day of delivery; while for other services such as “craftsman work”, it is the day of completion.
Do you issue the invoice already on the day of the service it is sufficient to mention that the day of service is the day of the invoice.The day of service cannot be replaced by enclosing the delivery note, although it is sufficient to refer to the delivery note if the delivery note contains the day of delivery.
The fee is the net amount. i.e. without VAT.Have you provided services at different tax rates (19 % and 7 %) you have to divide the fee acc. to the tax rates.
If you grant a discount it is sufficient to mention the discount rate . It is not necessary to mention the exact discount amount. If you have a bonus or discount agreement you are entitled to give a hint to this agreement.
10. Tax rate and tax amount
The tax rate (19 % or 7 %) as well as the tax amount must be mentioned in the invoice. If the tax rates are different the tax rate and the tax amount must be named separately. Have you provided a service which ist tax free you have to describe the reason for this by a note of for instance “tax free because of placement of insurances” or by mentioning the paragraph which is the reason for the exemption.
II. Special features
1. Payments on account
In case you agreed upon a payment on account with your customer and you issue an invoice for this there are the same principles valid like in section I. Only the day of delivery is not to be specified because it is not yet known.
Your are however compelled to mention that the service or delivery has not yet been provided, for instance by mentioning the “payment on account” In addition you have to specify the month of delivery in case that it is already known and if it is not the same as the date of the invoice.
If you issue the final invoice you have to deduct the payment of account already received. This is valid for the net amount already received as well for the tax amounts already received. So you avoid a double identification of VAT (in the invoice for payment of account and then in the final invoice). The consequence would be that you have to pay the VAT twice although you have received the VAT only once.
2. Customer as tax debter
In certain cases your customer has to pay the VAT. i.e. if you provide construction work for another company or cleaning services for another cleaning company. Here we are talking of a so called Reverse-Charge-Process.
Although your customer has to pay the VAT you are compelled to issue an invoice which contains the mandatory information acc. To section I. In addition you have to make clear in your invoice that the receiver of your invoice has to pay the VAT.
3. Billing minor sums
Shows your invoice a total amount lower than EURO 150 it is sufficient that you mention your name and your address, the day of invoice,the service provided, and hat tax rate or a service which is tax free. The gross amount can be specified in one sum, so a devision in net amount and tax amount is not necessary. In addition name and address of your customer is not to specify in the invoice.
4. Mandatory retention period
Did you provide a construction work to a non-merchant or to a merchant for his private use you have to mention in the invoice that for your customer a mandatory retention period of 2 years is compulsory.
July 1, 2013
All information and data we put together to the best of our knowledge and belief. We can take over no guarantee. This information cannot substitute an individual consulting.