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Are your VAT invoice numbers unique and sequential?

Some contractors might be unaware of new rules which came into play in October 2007 which mean that VAT registered businesses must use unique and sequential numbers for their invoices.

This interesting requirement was discovered by the Contract Eye team’s accountant – and we thought it worth sharing with our visitors!

Prior to the introduction of the new rules (bought into play to comply with EU regulations), all VAT invoices simply needed to have an identifying number, but there were no more stringent requirements than this.

At the time, HMRC said that they were unlikely to impose penalties for non-compliance with the new rules for the first year, but that “grace period” has now expired!

What do you need to include on a VAT invoice?

You must show the following details on any VAT invoices you issue:

  • a sequential number based on one or more series which uniquely identifies the document
  • the time of the supply
  • the date of issue of the document (if this is different to the time of supply)
  • the name, address and VAT registration number of the supplier
  • the name and address of the person to whom the goods or services are supplied
  • a description of the goods or services sold
  • for each description, the quantity sold / or services supplied, the VAT rate + the amount payable, excluding VAT (in any currency)
  • the gross total amount payable, excluding VAT (in any currency)
  • cash discount rate (if relevant)
  • the total amount of VAT chargeable (in £)
  • the price of the product or service (per unit)
  • if zero-rated, the reason for this

Find out more about your VAT invoicing requirements here.

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Last updated: 16th June 2019