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Date of publication: July 2018

All VAT registered businesses are required to produce invoices which comply with VAT legislation. Whether VAT is chargeable can be a complex question and advice should be sought.

Invoices must include:

  • Invoice number, which must be sequential and which uniquely identifies the document;
  • Date of supply of the goods or services;
  • Date of issue of the invoice;
  • Name, address and VAT registration number of issuing business;
  • Name and address of the person to whom the goods or services are supplied;
  • A description sufficient to identify the goods and services supplied;
  • For each description, the quantity of the goods or the extent of the services, and the rate of VAT and the amount payable, excluding VAT, expressed in any currency;
  • The gross total amount payable, excluding VAT, expressed in any currency;
  • The rate of any cash discount offered;
  • The total amount of VAT chargeable, which must be shown in GBP;
  • The unit price;
  • It is strongly recommended that you include on your invoice a due date for payment. Relief for VAT on bad debts is available for invoices unpaid 6 months after the due date – if there is no due date then the 6 month period never starts.

EU Supply issues

Where the invoice is issued to a customer in another EU state, the issuing business’ VAT registration number must be prefixed with the letters GB.

The EU recipient’s VAT number, including the national code letters must be shown. This information is required by the issuing business for separate reporting of sales to other EU states. Most accounting software collates this information.

Miscellaneous issues

If VAT is not chargeable on a particular supply (because it is outside the scope, or subject to reverse charge, for example) the reason why VAT is not due must be shown on the invoice.

Copies of any cancelled invoices should be kept and an explanation recorded, as HMRC have a right to enquire about any gaps in invoice sequencing.

Company Law

In addition to the above items, UK registered companies are required to include on all communications, including invoices, the company number, registered office address and place of incorporation (normally England & Wales).

Amending a VAT invoice

If you realise an invoice has been issued with an error or the incorrect VAT rate, simply issue a credit note for the erroneous invoice and issue a corrected version of the invoice.


Disclaimer: This note does not contain a full statement of the law and it does not constitute legal advice.  Please contact us if you have any questions about the information set out above.               

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