Invoice correction: What to do?

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Invoice correction

You should definitely pay attention to this

It has happened to everyone that an invoice was created that had an error. What should should you do with this invoice now? Do you have to cancel it? Does the customer need a new invoice or just an invoice correction?

Essentially, every customer has the right to receive a corrected invoice. However, how do you correct an incorrect invoice correctly?

There are two variants


Not every typing error necessarily needs to be corrected. However, if the error concerns the mandatory information of an invoice according to §14 para. 2 no. 2 of the Value Added Tax Act (UStG), it is necessary to correct the incorrect document.

But is it necessary to create a credit note, a cancellation invoice or an invoice correction?

Invoice has not yet been booked

  • The issued, incorrect invoice has not yet been posted in the recipient’s accounting system
  • For the purpose of correction, a cancellation invoice can be created that clears the full amount of the invoice.
  • The cancellation invoice has the same invoice number and can therefore be clearly assigned in accounting.

Invoice has already been booked

  • Although the document has already been posted in accounting, the customer requests a correction.
  • In this case, a credit note would be generated to also refund any payment made to the customer, if applicable.
  • Subsequently, a new invoice, with a new invoice number would be issued.

You also do not need to worry about the sign of the credit notes. In our opinion, the term “credit memo” is sufficient to indicate that the turnover is negative. There are no legal requirements here.

Law change from 2013

regarding the term credit note

easybill Datensicherheit

A change in the law in 2013 has led to some confusion here, so that it was unclear whether one of the designations for the correction documents could lead to the fact that the invoices, or the corrected invoice could no longer be entitled to deduction tax. However, an application letter from the Federal Ministry of Finance dated 25.10.2013 is available on the issue, in which the following is written:

„(…) Die im allgemeinen Sprachgebrauch bezeichnete Stornierung oder Korrektur der ursprünglichen Rechnung als Gutschrift (sog. kaufmännische Gutschrift) ist keine Gutschrift im umsatzsteuerrechtlichen Sinne. Wird in einem solchen Dokument der Begriff „Gutschrift“ verwendet, obwohl keine Gutschrift im umsatzsteuerrechtlichen Sinne nach §14 Abs. 2 Satz 2 UStG vorliegt, ist dies weiterhin umsatzsteuerrechtlich unbeachtlich. Die Bezeichnung „Gutschrift“ führt allein nicht zur Anwendung des §14c UStG. (…)“

Accordingly, the document type “Credit note” can also be renamed to “Invoice correction”, “Reversal invoice” or even “Invoice change”, but it is only a recommendation and not an obligation to follow.

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