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Invoicing to EU countries

For this post, we will be covering invoicing to another EU country from the United Kingdom.

A related part of invoicing to another country is being able to invoice in a different language. If some of your customers are abroad, then it makes sense that you'd want your customer to be able to fully understand what the invoice you've sent them contains.

At the same time, invoicing in your customer’s language is going to give that extra professional touch. If you'd like to learn about how to invoice in a different language and currency within Debitoor, head over to our tutorial.

picture of European Union flag

A few things to bear in mind before invoicing a different country

Invoicing to another EU country can be a bit more complex than at first glance - the biggest reason being VAT. Although it's not possible to go over every single situation that might arise with VAT and invoicing abroad, we can at least go through the most commonly-faced scenarios.

If your company is not VAT registered

If you're not VAT registered, then it's best to leave out any mention of VAT altogether on your invoice so that there's no confusion for your customer. To make this even easier, you can turn displaying VAT off with the click of a button within Debitoor.

If your company is VAT registered and you're selling goods (products)

If you are VAT registered, and what you are selling is goods (products), then you'll need to be aware that selling goods to other EU countries means that there is a VAT exemption (covered by Article 138 of the EU VAT Directive).

What this means for yourself is that any VAT displayed on the invoice you send will need to be marked as 0%. You'll then need to make a note on the invoice as to to why this is (due to a reverse charge)

If what you're selling happens to be second-hand, however, then there is no VAT exemption. There are a few other cases where a VAT exemption isn't the norm, so it's always worth checking with an accountant to figure out when and when you don't need to mark VAT as 0%.

If your company is VAT registered and you're selling services

If the customer does not have a VAT ID, then you should charge UK VAT as normal. If they do, then like before you need to mark the VAT payable as zero and make a note that the customer will pay the VAT rate of their country.

Similar to the previous section, there are some cases where this might not be correct, so seek the advice of an accountant before you start sending invoices.

How do I make sure my invoice abides by EU regulations?

For the most part, what needs to be included on the invoice is the exact same as what it would need to have if you were issuing an invoice to a customer within the United Kingdom. This is the following:

  • The invoice number. Invoice numbers must have no gaps in between invoices issued, and be sequential in order.
  • Your own company details (address, company name, phone number etc).
  • Customer details (their address, name or company name, phone number etc).
  • A description and amount. This needs to be an explanation of what you've provided (what the product or service is), and how many you've provided.
  • Date of issue- the date you sent the invoice to the customer
  • Date of expiry- how long the customer has to pay the invoice
  • Total amount- how much the customer has to pay.

If you're VAT registered then you also need to include the following:

  • Your own company VAT number
  • The VAT number of your customer (if they are also a business)
  • The VAT rate(s) you're charging your customer
  • The amount of VAT payable (converted) from the GBP rate if your invoice is not in GBP Sterling
  • If it is a service you are invoicing for and your VAT rate is zero, then you should add an explanation mentioning Article 44 of the EU VAT Directive
  • If it is goods (products) you are invoicing for, and the VAT rate is also zero, you should add an explanation mentioning EC Supply Article 138 of the EU VAT Directive.

Now you know what you need to get started when you’re invoicing to a country within the EU, but before you send your first invoice, it’s a good idea to check with an accountant so you’re completely sure about the rule and regulations surrounding invoicing abroad. If you need an accountant, have a look at our page about finding one.

Written by
on 23/10/2018