UK VAT invoice requirements

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. As part of its Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, it will remain inside the EU VAT regime until 31 December 2020. During this time, there will be no changes to UK VAT rules, treatment of transactions or filings. Read Avalara’s free 2020 Brexit guide for details on Brexit VAT and customs issues.

The UK VAT rules on the format and information to be provided on invoices broadly comply with the obligations of the EU VAT Directive and its VAT invoice requirements.

Date of issuance and storage of UK invoices

UK VAT invoices must be issued within 30 days of the taxable supply. If the transaction involves an intra-Community supply of goods, the invoice must be provided by the 15th day of the month following the taxable supply. In the case of an intra-Community supply of services, invoices should be supplied on the 15th day of the month following the end of the month during which the service was provided. For continuous services, a VAT invoice should be provided by the January following each year in which the services are provided.

Invoices must be stored for six years.  The UK, like all EU member states, now permits the use of electronic invoices under certain conditions.

UK invoice requirements

Invoices must contain at least the following information:

  • Date of issuance
  • A unique, sequential number
  • VAT number of the supplier
  • Full address of the supplier and customer
  • Full description of the goods or services provided
  • Details of quantities of goods, if applicable
  • A date of the supply (or tax point) if different from the invoice date
  • The net, taxable value of the supply (expressed in GBP)
  • Unit price of items supplied and details of any cash discounts excluding VAT
  • The VAT rate applied, and the amount of VAT
  • Details to support zero VAT – export, reverse charge or intra-community supply
  • Reference to “reverse charge” if applicable
  • Where supplies have been self-billed a reference to “self-billing”
  • If applicable, reference to any margin scheme that has been applied e.g. tour operator margin scheme, margin scheme for works of art
  • Details of mode of transport of goods
  • The total, gross value of the supply

Need help with your UK VAT compliance?

Researching UK VAT legislation is the first step to understanding your VAT compliance needs. Avalara has a range of solutions that can help your business depending on where and how you trade. 

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