Say it slower, please
That list is quite broad in a way so let’s break that down a little more. One, the complete name and complete address of the service provider and the recipient of the service. Two, the service provider’s tax number or VAT number for those liable for VAT. Three, the date of issue of the invoice. Four, a unique invoice number. Save yourself time, and create a sequential numbered system for your invoices that reflect in your filing. It is a big no-no with the Finanzamt to re-use the same invoice numbers and it is much easier to manage, in general, sequentially. Germany has different requirements on invoices of less than €150 including VAT. For example, not needing a unique invoice number or the name and address of the recipient. It is much better practice to simply invoice, even in the event this is the case with your invoice, as if it were for more than €150. It keeps things highly organised.
Five, the month or range of months in which the service was provided - as in, when did you do the work. Six, an itemised list of each service provided with the unit price which is either by our, package or product type, the total amount for each service, and the grand total, or a fixed charge, without VAT. Seven, the amount of VAT and the rate applied. Eight, the (grand) total including VAT. Eight, the payment advice - as in, how should the invoice be paid. Nine, terms of payment as per your discretion (usually 14 or 30 days).
Specifications for Invoicing Outside of Germany
If your client is a business located elsewhere in the EU this is a B2B situation therefore the supply of services is taxed at the business' place of establishment. Therefore the recipient is responsible for accounting for VAT according to the "reverse charge" procedure. When invoicing, you will need to state "VAT reverse-charged: tax liability of the recipient of the services”, the USt-ID of the client and not charge VAT on the invoice. If your client is a non-EU business the place of supply is at the business' place of establishment. The place of supply is thus outside the EU and no VAT is due. You cannot charge VAT. Lastly if your client is an EU or non-EU customer (private person), this is a B2C service taxed at the your place of establishment - which is Germany. Therefore German VAT would generally be due so invoice as standard. That should cover off all the basics of an invoice. Sometimes, it may not immediately seem so different but this is a nuanced system and everything has a purpose and process of use. We hope to cover many more topics within invoicing in the future on the blog - but we hope this was an informative guide to get you started and to get you paid - knowing all your documents are complying with the law - now, that’s the easy freelancer life we all want!