As a self-employed person, it is important to verify that the invoices and receipts you have received for your work related expenses are legally correct.
The Finanzamt (Financial authorities) may ask to check your original invoices and receipts during a tax audit. They would often review the highest amount invoices to verify that they contain all the required details according to the tax law.
Which information should be on the expense invoice?
Required details on every expense invoice
You should check that every invoice contains the following details:
Full name and address of the supplier
Issue date of the invoice
Quantity and type of the service or delivered items
Total amount (incl. tax amount) for the service or delivered items
VAT rate or reference to VAT exemption.
Additional details for expense invoices above 250€
You should also check that the following details are included on larger amount invoices above 250€:
Your full name and address
Tax number or VAT-ID of the supplier
Date of service or delivery of goods
The net amount (excluding VAT)
VAT amount in addition to VAT rate
Common mistake to watch out for
As a self-employed business owner, it is common to create a unique name for your business, for example "Studio delight". While this is great for creating a strong brand, it is legally incorrect to use this name as the name of the business for tax purposes.
Make sure that your full name is clearly stated on the invoice.
What should I do if the expense invoice is not legally correct?
Try to reach out to the supplier and ask for a new invoice with the correct details. If you do it quickly after the purchase, they would often send you a corrected invoice.
For example, it is common to get a receipt from a larger retailer, such as "Ikea", without having your full name on it. If you explicitly ask them for an extended invoice with your name on it, they would happily help you.
However, there are times when it is no longer possible to contact the supplier and ask for a legally correct invoice.
In these cases you should create a self created receipt (Eigenbeleg) in addition to the original invoice. Check out the section on what to do when the invoice is lost for instructions on how to create a self created receipt.
Sorted tax guides are provided without liability and do not replace a tax advisor.
To get an accurate answer for your specific case, please consult a tax advisor.
You can always ask one of tax advisors on the Sorted platform.
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