We are going to talk about two things:

  1. If you are required to declare VAT.
  2. If you do not have to declare VAT.

Mandatory for all types of invoices

These are the important things that should be included on an invoice, whether or not you have to pay VAT:

  • The word ‘invoice’ with the date of the invoice and the date on which the goods were delivered or the service was performed.
  • A unique invoice number that you keep increasing. Do not use numbers randomly or start over each time. You can also add letters if it is convenient. For example, start with ‘FI3092’ and then ‘FI3093’, and so on.
  • Your name or the name of your company and your address. A post office box alone is not sufficient. Use the name you have registered with the Chamber of Commerce. If you are not registered with the Chamber of Commerce, use your own name.
  • The name of the person or company receiving the goods or services, along with their address.
  • Your bank account number.
  • What you have delivered, with quantity and a description.
  • The price per unit or per hour and any discount, along with the total costs.
  • The amounts without VAT, the VAT rate, and the VAT amount that you have to pay, as well as the total amount that needs to be paid.
  • The payment due date, for example, within 30 days.

If you are required to declare VAT

For businesses that are required to file VAT returns, there are specific rules they must adhere to:

  • You must mention your VAT identification number. You should have received this number in a letter from the Tax Authorities. If you do not remember it, you can also find it on the website of the Tax Authorities. Go to: https://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/nl/ondernemers/content/inloggen-voor-ondernemers. Log in with DigiD or E-recognition. Go to the “Omzetbelasting” tab. On the left, you will see ‘VAT identification number.’ Click on it. Then you will see two numbers. Use only the VAT identification number on the invoice, not the turnover number.

If you are liable for VAT, you need to know how to calculate VAT. Normally, you calculate 21% or 9% VAT on the amounts stated on the invoice. But there are exceptions as well. Here are three briefly discussed:

  • ‘Btw verlegd’ means that the VAT is owed by the person you are doing business with. This only happens if you regularly provide services to a regular customer. This is mainly relevant in sectors such as construction, shipbuilding, cleaning companies, and landscaping. If you do not work in any of these sectors, the VAT is likely not shifted.
  • ‘Invoice issued by recipient’ occurs when your customer creates the invoice themselves, known as ‘self-billing’. Note: although the customer creates the invoice, you are still responsible for ensuring that all information is correctly noted.
  • ‘Margin scheme’ is indicated on the invoice that the products fall under the margin scheme. This can only be done if you sell second-hand products. You do not mention VAT on the invoice for the rest.Wat gebeurt er als je geen btw hoeft te betalen?

In that case, you still need to adhere to certain rules and include special mentions, especially when running a small business. In other words, you must explain why you are not charging VAT. Generally, there are two scenarios:

  • If the Tax Authorities have determined that you are exempt from VAT, you do not need to mention a VAT identification number. You probably have not received this information from the Tax Authorities. On the invoice, you must state why you are not charging VAT, for example, ‘exempt from VAT based on article…’, where the legal basis for the exemption must be described in detail. In some cases, you may need to make specific mentions resulting from the legislation, for example, in the sale of art objects, antiques, motor vehicles, travel agencies, used goods, and so on. It is advisable to consult the accountant for the exact requirements.
  • In general, the Tax Authorities determine whether or not you are exempt. Sometimes, certain products or services are exempt. You still need to mention your VAT identification number but indicate that this specific product is exempt from VAT. The Tax Authorities have published a list of services and products that are exempt from VAT: click here to see the list.