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Chartered Certified Accountants
and Business Advisors

01530 267320

Do you always have to issue a VAT invoice?

It’s no coincidence businesses that poor records and paperwork are more likely to fail. Tax rules, especially those for VAT, impose paperwork obligations and failing to meet them could land you with a fine!


There is actually only one situation where you are required by law to issue an invoice, that is where you and your customer are both VAT registered.


Remember: A receipt is NOT the same as an invoice, it is just an acknowledgment on payment. Whilst must of the information might be the same, an invoice must include certain information that a receipt typically doesn’t.


So, you CAN refuse to provide an invoice unless you are VAT registered and the customer can show they are making the purchase for a VAT-Registered business or other organisation. If you issue an invoice voluntarily or because you are required to, keep things simple!


Invoices can vary slightly depending on the value of the transaction and the nature of your business. The three types of invoices as follows:

  • A full invoice

  • A simplified invoice; and

  • A modified invoice

There is a long list of information that must appear on a full invoice, however, as a retail business you can issue a simplified invoice for sales of up to £250 which needs only the following:

  • Your name, address and VAT registration number

  • The tax point (usually the date of the sale)

  • A means of identifying the goods/services

  • The VAT-inclusive amount payable for each VAT rate applied and the VAT rate

A modified invoice is generally the same as a full one but can be used by retailers for sales in excess of £250 and only has to show the VAT inclusive value of sales.


Receipts and credit card slips can be modified to meet the requirements of VAT invoices. Most electronic tills etc. can be set up to produce VAT invoices.

11 Jun 2018

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