Creating a correct invoice often causes headaches. At the latest when the tax inspector is at the door, unpleasant surprises can arise if required details are missing on the invoice, and this may have been the case for some time. This can be expensive and lead to high administrative costs, because the tax office has no mercy when it comes to value added tax.

What exactly must appear on the invoice so that it is legally correct?

The tax number or the sales tax identification number

Does a tax number have to be on the invoice? And if so, which one? What exactly do these numbers mean and what’s the difference?

Vorlage Rechnung mit Steuernummer
Tax Number Invoice Template

The tax number or tax ID

If you issue invoices to persons or companies that have their registered office in Germany, it is sufficient to state the tax number or tax ID on the invoice. Alternatively, instead of the tax number, you can also enter your VAT identification number (VAT ID). Many companies prefer to indicate your VAT ID, as it is more secure from a data protection point of view.

Obligation to verify the VAT identification number

Pursuant to Section 6a (4) of the German Turnover Tax Act (UStG), the supplying company is obliged to check the information provided by the recipient with the “due diligence of a prudent businessman”. If the supplying company fails to comply with its duty of care with regard to checking the accuracy of the VAT registration number and it later transpires that the VAT registration number of the recipient of the supply provided by the supplying company was incorrect, the supplying company must reckon with additional tax payments. In order to avoid this risk and to comply with the “due diligence obligation of a prudent businessman”, it was generally recommended to provide evidence of a check of the recipient’s VAT ID numberUSt ID check for individual documents. However, failure to comply with this verification requirement may have tax implications. You must check your customer’s VAT ID and document this check. Otherwise, you may be subject to additional VAT claims.

The VAT identification number or VAT ID

The VAT ID ( VAT ID No.) is required if you, as an entrepreneur subject to VAT, write an invoice to an entrepreneur in another EU country (B2B transactions), because these are intra-EU deliveries or services.

How to obtain the VAT identification number?

You can submit an application to the Federal Central Tax Office at any time, either online or via a written application.

Advantages of the sales tax ID:

If both parties provide a VAT ID number, the supplier or service provider does not have to charge VAT. Because of the tax-free invoices, no sales tax has to be paid to the tax office. This eliminates the cumbersome VAT refunds for intra-Community deliveries and services.

Please note: As a small business owner in the sense of § 19 UStG you are not entitled to receive VAT-exempt invoices from other entrepreneurs in the EU.

Other required details to be included on the invoice

For a correct invoice the following details must also be provided:

  • The term “invoice”
  • Name and address of the company providing the service
  • Name and address of the beneficiary
  • Time or period of delivery or service
  • Quantity and description of the delivered products or type and scope of the service
  • The charge for the delivery or service in net
  • The applicable VAT rate and the applicable VAT amount
    • In case of different tax rates, the respective net amounts must be indicated separately
  • Price reductions such as rebates and discounts
  • The date of issue (= invoice date)
  • A unique, consecutive number assigned to the invoice, without gaps in the number range
  • As described above, the tax number or VAT ID of the invoicing party

Create your correct invoices with easybill and make sure that these required details always appear on your invoices: The details are transferred automatically through the invoice templates and can no longer be forgotten.