Step-by-step plan billing

Invoices must comply with a number of legal requirements. You will save yourself some time if you work with a standard invoice which you adjust for each new invoice that you send. In this step-by-step plan we will discuss how to prepare an invoice.

1. Show the invoice number

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.

2. Show the date and place

Show the date and place from which the invoice is sent.

3. Describe the goods or services delivered

State the product or products, numbers, your service and/or the time period in which you did the work. If you first sent a tender, you can copy the data. Also mention the date you delivered the goods or (finished) the services. When you sell a product, this can be the same as the invoice date.

4. Show names and addresses

Show your own name and address and that of the client (the creditor). Your company name can be your own name but if you registered under another company name in the Chamber of Commerce, you (also) use the company name.

5. Show your VAT number if you have one

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 a VAT number.

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6. Show the 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. 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.

7. Show the Trade Register number (KvK-nummer) if you have one

If you set up a sole proprietorship or another type of enterprise in the Netherlands, you must have it registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KVK). Include your Trade Register number (KvK-nummer) in your invoice.

If you just started and you have not met the criteria for a business you might not be registered yet so you won't have a KvK-number (or VAT number). You can still send an invoice as long as you pay taxes over this income at the end of the year.

8. Show the payment details

Show your bank account details with a sentence on the payment term. Payment terms of two weeks are customary. Ask your client to quote the invoice number with the payment. It is not required by law, but is useful to show ‘INVOICE’ on each invoice.

9. Enclosures (if applicable)

If you work with a model agreement, you can mention this in your invoice.

10. Sending the invoice

You can send the invoice by regular mail or electronic mail. Make sure the invoice cannot be easily adapted: save it as pdf for example, instead of a Word or Excel file.

11. Payment of your invoice

Always check whether your invoice is paid on time. There is a legal payment term of 30 days. If a client does not comply with this payment term, you can charge a statutory interest and possibly start a collection procedure.