What needs to be on a UK VAT Invoice?

You must have a valid VAT invoice in order to charge VAT on sales or reclaim VAT charged on the goods or services you purchase.

Union Invoice Template

To be valid it needs to show:

  • The supplier's name, address and VAT registration number
  • The name and address of the person to whom the goods are supplied
  • A unique identification number (see below for new rules)
  • Date of issue
  • Time of supply of the goods or services (this may be the same as the date of issue)
  • A description of the goods or services supplied
  • Rate of any discount available
  • Total amount of VAT charged
  • The total amount payable for the whole invoice excluding VAT

For each description of goods or services:

  • The unit price (see below for exceptions)
  • The rate of VAT charged
  • The amount payable excluding VAT

There are two relatively recent changes to the VAT invoice rules you should check for your own business:

Unit price

Since 2004 a VAT invoice must include the unit price of any 'countable' goods or services. So if you charge by the hour you need to show your hourly rate.

However, if it is not the usual practice in your business sector to show this information you don't have to, as long as your customer doesn't demand it.

Unique Identification Number

From October 2007 each of your VAT invoices must have a unique and sequential number.

If you restart your invoice numbering each year this could lead to identically numbered invoices in different years.

You can use separate invoice sequences for different customers as long as each sequence of invoices is separate and unique.

You can also use customer prefixes on the invoices, as long as no two customers have the same prefix.

FreeAgent Notes

FreeAgent automatically ensures you have all the right information displayed, and that your invoice numbers are unique.

It doesn't enforce strictly sequential numbers, though - that's up to you.

Chris Thomas, One Accounting Ltd

One Accounting

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