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Once you have started your Dutch business, it will (hopefully) not take long before you issue your first sales invoice. However, before you do this, it’s important to consider the Dutch invoice requirements.
Why should you issue an invoice at all?
The most basic purpose for an invoice is to keep a record of sales. It provides a way to track the date a good was sold, how much money was paid and any outstanding debt. An invoice can also track which employees make sales and which items they sell. For VAT the invoice is very important. When the invoice does not meet the requirements it is possible that the VAT is not deductible. The invoice has to be clear for you, your customer and the Dutch tax authorities. What are the requirements?
We have drawn up an example invoice of a (fictitious) self-employed person who works in business services.
Click on the pictures below to download the sample invoices for free (this file opens in PDF). Under the example invoices, the article continues with an explanation of what information you should always include on your invoices. This way you can be sure that you will not forget anything.
Invoices need to provide, at least, the below mentioned information:
The complete name and address of the selling company;
The complete name and address of the buyer;
The VAT number of the selling company;
The Chamber of Commerce number of the selling company;
The date on which the invoice is made up;
A unique, continuous and subsequent invoice number.
A detailed description of the goods or services supplied;
The amount of goods or time spent on services;
The delivery date;
The amount excluding VAT;
The used VAT rate;
The amount of VAT due.
All documents that meet the above mentioned requirements can be considered to be an invoice.
Obligated invoice information in The EU and outside of The EU
When you are doing business from The Netherlands with another (EU) country, the invoice has to meet subsequent requirements on top of the already mentioned requirements. These subsequent requirements are:
The VAT number of the foreign company
Services, VAT reversed charge (0%) has to be mentioned
Goods, VAT exempt has to be mentioned
1. VAT number / VAT identification number (VAT ID)
If you register in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce, you will receive a number from the Tax Authorities. This is proof to the tax authorities that you are an 'entrepreneur for turnover tax'.
Not subject to VAT
exceptions, but most entrepreneurs are subject to VAT: in that case you charge turnover tax on amounts that you charge to customers or clients. You then report this (often several times a year) to the tax authorities.
2. Chamber of Commerce number
In addition to a VAT number, you will automatically receive a Chamber of Commerce number when you register with the Chamber of Commerce (KvK). This number indicates that your company is officially registered in the Chamber of Commerce database and must also be stated on every invoice.
3. Invoice number
Each invoice must have a different number. In principle, you can determine the numbering yourself. To keep your business administration as clear as possible, it is useful to arrange the invoices per year. This is especially recommended for entrepreneurs who regularly work for the same customers.
Every January you start with a clean slate and count from the first invoice. For 2019, the first invoice would be 2019001, the second 2019002 and so on. When you arrive at 2019010 at some point, that counts easily.
4. Invoice date and payment term
The invoice date is the date on which you send the invoice to a customer or client. It is customary to indicate clearly on invoices the date by which the payment must be paid (at the latest). The usual payment term is usually between fourteen and thirty days.
It is advisable to also discuss the payment term with your customer or client when accepting the assignment, so that all parties know in advance where they stand.
Do you forget to indicate a specific payment term on the invoice?
Then a period of thirty days automatically applies. If the (agreed) term is exceeded, you may charge interest.
Do you already work freelance, but do not have a company (yet)? Then put your own name and address on the invoice.
5. (Company) name and address
In addition to the VAT and Chamber of Commerce number, you must of course also state your name, company name, address and contact details.
Are you working as a freelancer, but have you not yet set up your own company? In that case, only put your own name and address on the invoice.
6. (Company) name and address of the customer
This is the name and (company) address of the client. There are no hard rules on where you should state these addresses and contact details, but it is customary to put this information above the calculation and description of the work.
7. Date and description of delivery / service
When did you carry out the work? And how long did this take? Describe and specify the amount of hours you charge as best you can.
8. VAT rate
Most entrepreneurs charge sales tax and the following must always indicate their bills:
the amount excluding VAT
any discounts not included in the unit price included
the applied VAT
VAT amount in euros
9. Bank Account number
You should (obviously) also mention your business bank account number on the invoice. This way you ensure that the customer will have all the information at hand to make the payment immediately without any problems.
VAT Declaration doing business from The Netherlands to another EU country
The information highlighted with a circle around it, in the example invoice above, is the extra information required when doing business from The Netherlands with another country.
Doing business from The Netherlands to another EU country also requires an ICP VAT declaration. In this VAT declaration the intra-community goods and services are mentioned.
Do you export goods to non-EU countries? Such supplies are taxed at 0% VAT. It makes no difference whether the goods are supplied to a private individual or an entrepreneur. You must be able to show from your administration that the goods have actually left the EU.
Not obligated but important to mention on the invoice
On top of the required information on an invoice, it is important to mention the payment conditions and the expiration date of the invoice.