Invoicing your customers as a freelancer might be a little confusing at first. It gets much easier after you created your first few invoices.
The basic structure of an invoice
- Your full name and address
- The full name and address of your client
- Your tax number
The tax number is a number given to businesses/freelancers by the responsible tax office. Not to be confused with the personal tax identification number.
- The value-added tax identification number (VAT-ID)
The VAT-ID is used to uniquely identify every company in the (European Union) EU. You do need one when buying from or selling to customers within the EU.
- The invoice date
- A consecutive (!) invoice number
- The quantity and type of your performed services or delivered goods
- The date/period the service was performed or the delivery date for goods
- The final amount broken down by tax rates and agreed discounts
- The tax rate and tax amount
In the case of a tax exemption, a reference to the reason of exemption
Keep in mind that you are obliged to issue an invoice within 6 months of providing the delivery or service.
What are the so called smaller amount invoices?
If your invoice amount is smaller than gross 250€ then the following information is allowed to be omitted for simplification:
- Name and address of your client
- Your tax number and VAT-ID
- Consecutive invoice number
- Period of performance or delivery date
- Net invoice amount and the amount of the applicable value added tax
It is important to say that these simplifications do not apply for cross-border services and deliveries!
What if the invoice was issued by your customer?
In cases where the invoice is issued by your customer, it has to say credit note and credit note date instead of invoice and invoice date.
What if I am a small business owner (Kleinunternehmer)?
As a small business you are not allowed to charge VAT when issuing invoices, but you are obliged to state the reason for the missing VAT details like: "According to § 19 UStG no VAT is charged." / „Gemäß § 19 UStG wird keine Umsatzsteuer berechnet.“
See our small business owner (Kleinunternehmer) tax guide for more information about the small business regulation.
Invoicing customers outside of Germany?
We wrote a collection of tax guides on how to to invoices customers outside of Germany.
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.