Writing an invoice

Your job is done, so it is time to send your customer an invoice. But what do you include on an invoice? The Tax Administration imposes a number of requirements on invoices. You have to comply, otherwise you and your customer cannot offset the VAT. These steps will help you write invoices that meet all the requirements.

Invoice is another word for bill. You often make a quotation first. In it, you agree what work you will do and when, and what it will cost the customer. So the amount of the invoice is not a surprise.

1. What to include on your invoice

The following must be stated on your invoice:

  • Your VAT identification number and the VAT rate that is applied;
  • The total amount due, excluding and including VAT;
  • Your KVK number (from your registration in the Business Register);
  • The invoice date and number (your invoices must be consecutively numbered);
  • The delivery date;
  • Your name and address and that of your customer;
  • A description of the goods or services you supplied;
  • How many goods or hours you are chargeing for.

You can find all the invoice requirements on the website of the Netherlands Tax Administration (Belastingdienst).

Tip: are you making use of the Small Businesses Scheme (KOR)? You do not have to send an invoice, but you can. Companies like to receive an invoice. If you send one, do not include a VAT percentage or VAT amount. You can mention that you are using the KOR and thus exempt from VAT. Your invoice does not have to comply with the invoicing requirements. You may prefer to send private clients a payment  request through your bank, for example. Make sure that all payments you receive are clearly reflected in your records. 

Simplified invoice

Is the invoice amount, including VAT, less than €100? Then you can write a 'simplified' invoice (Belastingdienst, in Dutch), with less information. But it must contain at least:

  • The date you sent the invoice.
  • Your name and address details.
  • Which goods or services you have supplied.
  • The VAT amount.

Do you have questions about tax matters?

Contact an expert from the Tax Administration via live chat. Available on weekdays from 09.00 - 16.00.

Your invoice and the GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the privacy law that applies for all entrepreneurs. Anyone who works with personal data must comply with the GDPR. You have to be able to prove exactly what you use (potential) customer data for and how long you store the data. You also store personal data in your records. For example, when you process customer information to draw up an invoice, that already falls under the GDPR. Find out how to make your business GDPR-proof and avoid any fines.

2. Make sure your invoice has a clear layout

An invoice must look clear and well-organised. Your logo and company name need to stand out immediately. At a glance, your customer can see the amount to be paid, the payment term, and your bank account details or payment link. If you invest in the format and layout of your invoice from the start, this will save you time later on. 

3. Send your invoice right after finishing the job

Send the invoice to your customer as soon as possible after finishing the job. Your work or delivery will still be fresh in their memories. The longer it takes you to send an invoice, the greater the chance that the client will forget to pay. In any event, send your invoice before the 15th day of the month following the month you delivered your product or service. This is called the issue date and is determined by the Tax Administration.

Example: You completed your assignment on 5 August. Then the invoice must be sent before 15 September.

Clearly state when the invoice must be paid. You can do this in advance in your quotation and general terms and conditions. You can offer various payment options: payment in advance, immediately on delivery, or within a payment term. State the payment term clearly in your invoice. Some entrepreneurs offer customers a discount if they pay the invoice immediately.

To make sure you receive your money quickly, you can use factoring or a collection contract. With factoring, a factoring company pays the invoice directly to you. The company then collects the money from the customer. With a collection contract, the customer authorises you to debit the money from their bank account.

4. Save your invoices for at least 7 years

You may scan invoices and receipts and save them digitally. The legal storage period is 7 years. For immovable goods, such as a property, a period of 10 years applies. The Tax Administration can audit your records within this retention period. You can keep your records on paper or with accounting software. Use a system that suits your business. You must always keep a (digital) copy of the invoices you send.

5. Digital or paper invoice?

It is up to you whether you send your invoices on paper or digitally. If you use accounting software, digital invoices are the easiest. Such a digital invoice is called an e-invoice. With e-invoicing, you send your invoice via a secure server and you can be sure that your customer receives it properly. All mandatory details are in a fixed place on the invoice, with their own code. That is why you can process e-invoices automatically in your records.

Do you supply goods or services to a government body? Then you must use e-invoices. Check the e-invoicing helpdesk (in Dutch) for more information. 

Video: How to make an invoice

This is a Dutch video. For English subtitles, click the Settings wheel in the video, select 'Ondertiteling', and choose 'Engels'.

How do I make an invoice?