Step by step
Invoices must comply with a number of legal requirements. VAT can only be deducted if invoices meet these requirements. You will save yourself a great deal of time if you produce a standard invoice that you process for each new invoice that you send.
If you do not yet know whether or how much VAT to charge, first go to the page on Taxes.
You must number all invoices in sequence. It is up to you whether you carry on raising the numbers for each new invoice, or start over with each new year. You can also add client codes if you wish.
Show the date and place from which the invoice is sent.
State the numbers and what you did, if applicable. If you sell a painting, for instance, you need only show the invoice date. If you first sent an offer, you can copy the data from this. Also mention the date you delivered the goods or (finished) the services.
Show your own name and address and that of the client/buyer (the creditor).
If you do not have a VAT number, you cannot charge VAT. In that case, include a short sentence such as: ‘No VAT number held’, so that your client understands why your invoice does not show VAT.
Always state the amount/fee exclusive of VAT, show the VAT separately at the correct rate and then the entire charge, including VAT, in euros. Different VAT rates apply in the arts. From the 1st of July 2012 a fine artist will charge 6% for a painting, as does a musician for a performance. Some services are VAT-exempt, such as writing compositions or literary works. In that case, state ‘VAT-exempt’ in the invoice. This is different from the zero rate, which applies for deliveries of goods/services to other countries.
From 2008, all entrepreneurs have a Trade Register number (KvK-nummer) from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Include this in your invoice.
Show your bank/giro account details with a sentence on the payment term. Payment terms of two weeks are customary. Ask your client/buyer to quote the invoice number with the payment. It is not required by law, but is useful to show ‘INVOICE’ on each invoice.
a. If you have a VAR, always enclose a copy of this, together with a copy of your ID.
b. If you have drawn up and use your own General Terms and Conditions, it is useful to print these on the back of your invoice.
You can send the invoice by regular mail or electronic mail. You can only use e-mail if the client agrees on receiving electronic invoices. Make sure the invoice cannot be easily adapted. save it as pdf for example, instead of a Word or Excel file.