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If you provide products or services in the Netherlands, you have to provide your business clients with an invoice. You are also required to send an invoice if your customer is a legal entity which is not an entrepreneur, such as associations and foundations. If you supply goods or services to private individuals you do not always need to provide an invoice (see rules on invoices for private individuals).
Your invoices must meet a number of legal requirements.
What do you need to state on your invoice?
If you run a business based in the Netherlands you have to include a number of basic details on your invoice:
- your VAT identification number
- VAT amount
- invoice date
- your name and address
- the name and address of your customer
- your Dutch Commercial register number
- which goods or services were supplied
- the quantity of goods or services
- when they were supplied
Invoices must be numbered sequentially. You must rectify invoices that do not fulfil these requirements. This is particularly important for VAT purposes, because if your invoices do not satisfy the requirements, your buyer will not be entitled to a VAT deduction.
Invoices must be sent by the 15th day of the month following the month you supplied the service or product. Your customer must pay the invoice within the payment term.
If your invoice's total amount does not exceed €100 (VAT included), or if it is an invoice to rectify a previously send one, the requirements are less strict (in Dutch) and only need to contain the following details:
- name and address
- VAT amount
- invoice date
- goods or services supplied
- in the case of a rectified invoice: a reference to the initial invoice.
Please note you are not allowed to send simplified invoices if you supply:
- goods or services to another EU country (intracommunity deliveries)
- distance sales
- services in an EU county, while the VAT regarding that service has been reverse-charged to the person receiving the service.
Rules on sending invoices to private individuals
If you supply services or goods to private individuals (in Dutch), you do not need to provide an invoice, unless:
- You are a wholesaler in food, tobacco products, dental raw materials or equipment and at least 80% of your customers are entrepreneurs
- You sell a new or nearly new vehicle to a customer in a different EU country, stating the registration number.
- You are involved in distance selling.
Exemptions to meeting invoice requirements
In the following cases, you do not need to meet invoice requirements:
- Entrepreneurs in the taxi and public transport branch
- Entrepreneurs who supply exempt goods (unless you are partially exempt, in which case you have to meet invoice requirements for those goods which do require an invoice).
- Entrepreneurs who have agreed that the customer provides an invoice (for instance at auctions).
Minimum retention period of invoice records
You must keep invoices relating to immovable property for 10 years and all other invoices for 7 years. You can issue, receive and store your receipts and invoices in electronic format, but they must contain the same information as the original paper invoices.
Expiration date invoice
It may be that you send your invoice only after some time. If it is sent to another company and it is not more than 5 years old, they still have to pay the invoice. It expires 5 years after the end of the payment term, after which your customer no longer has to pay. If you sell products to consumers, your invoice expires after only 2 years. But if you sell services and travels to consumers, the time limit is 5 years. If you send your customer a reminder before the end of the time limit, it will start again. This is called 'interrupting'.
Electronic and digital invoicing
You can send a paper invoice by post, or you can send an electronic or a digital invoice.
Electronic invoicing or e-invoicing is done through accounting software or a portal. In this case, your e-invoice is sent directly through an automated system to your customer. You must ensure your customer has agreed to accepting an e-invoice first. There is no obligation to do so. E-invoicing, also known as e-billing, is an accepted method of invoicing throughout the European Union (EU).
If you send a digital invoice, you send an invoice as pdf by email. Electronic and digital invoices must satisfy the same requirements.
Send electronic invoices to government bodies
If you carry out work for the Dutch central government, you are obliged to send an e-invoice. You can submit an e-invoice online by using the organisation's electronic letterbox Digipoort, your accounting software or the central government's suppliers portal. All government organisations (such as ministries, municipalities, provinces and non-departmental public bodies) are obliged to be able to receive and process e-invoices.
Do you supply goods or services to the Dutch government and do you want to send e-invoices? Use the e-invoice guide. The e-invoice guide shows you which method of e-invoicing is suited for your company.
If you do business with companies in other EU Member States from within the Netherlands, there are additional requirements for invoices regarding goods and services (in Dutch). For more information contact the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. As far as electronic invoices are concerned, EU Member States may have their own additional requirements.
The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration provides more information on Dutch tax laws when doing business outside the EU (in Dutch).