Invoice requirements EU VAT

Purpose of VAT Invoices

VAT invoices provide a crucial record and evidence of the liability, calculation, accounting and recoverability of Value Added Tax.  They enable suppliers, customers and the tax authorities to communicate and support the European VAT treatment of supply of taxable goods or services.

The EU and national tax authorities have therefore built up a large body of requirements for the format and information of VAT invoices, which all parties must adhere to ensure there will be no problems in the case of tax audits.

Below is a brief outline of the common requirements across the 28 EU member states.  You may also read our briefing on the latest requirements for the use of electronic VAT invoices here.

Basic VAT Invoice requirements

All EU VAT registered businesses must produce VAT invoices for the supply of goods or services.  There are increasingly some lower value invoice thresholds where a full VAT invoice may be required.  This is generally around €200.

Whilst it is usually the supplier who must create and send the invoice, it is possible to agree that the customer does so under an exemption known as self-billing.


What information is required on an EU VAT Invoice

Whilst there are still some difference between EU member states on their invoice requirements, the basic following requirements are common:

  • The date of the invoice
  • A unique invoice number, which should be sequential
  • The name and address of the supplier and the customer
  • The VAT number of the supplier
  • A description of the goods supplied, including quantities
  • The date of the supply of the goods or services where materially different from the date of the invoice
  • The net amount charged
  • The EU VAT rate charged, and the amount, and the gross charge
  • Foreign currency rate if an alternative currency to the national currency of the supplier is used (this rate must be based on the local tax law e.g. a Central Bank rate in France
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