This guidance note provides details of the information that must be shown on a valid VAT invoice. Businesses who supply goods and services that are liable to the standard or reduced rate of VAT are required to issue a VAT invoice to another VAT registered person. VATA 1994, Sch 11, para 3; De Voil Indirect Tax Service V3.511 (subscription sensitive)

If the business is issuing and / or receiving electronic invoices then it should also read the Electronic invoicing guidance note for more information.

A VAT invoice shows certain VAT details regarding the supply of goods and services. It can be either in paper or electronic form. A VAT registered customer is required to have possession of a valid VAT invoice from the supplier in order to recover any VAT charged by the supplier.

A VAT invoice forms part of the required accounting documentation that must be retained by a business and will be reviewed by HMRC as part of an audit.

If the business is using procurement purchasing cards then please see the Procurement cards guidance note for more information.

Documents that are not VAT invoices

The following documents are not VAT invoices and if a customer is in possession of these documents it cannot use them to recover any VAT charged. The following documents can also be used by a supplier to request payment without creating a requirement to account for VAT on the goods / services supplied if a basic tax point has not already been created (see the Time of supply (tax points) guidance note):

  • proforma invoice
  • invoices that state the narrative 'this is not a tax invoice'
  • request for payment
  • statements
  • orders
  • delivery notes

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