Good things to remember about EU VAT invoicing rules

Contribution by Maria Cambien


Companies/ any taxpayer doing business in the EU are subject to a single set of basic EU-wide invoicing rules (Articles 217-240 VAT Directive), and in certain areas, national rules set by the individual EU country.

Basic principles of the EU-wide rules are:

  • Electronic invoices are equivalent to paper – national tax authorities cannot require businesses to provide any notification or to receive authorization.
  • Businesses are free to issue electronic invoices subject to acceptance by the recipient. However, e-invoicing will become obligatory in public procurement.
  • Businesses can outsource invoicing operations to a third party or to the customer (i.e. self-billing), in some circumstances.
  • Businesses are generally free to store invoices where and how they like (paper/electronic, in a different EU country to where they are based, etc.)

A detailed explanation of EU-wide invoicing rules is provided in Explanatory notes

As regards the National rules

  • EU rules provide flexibility for EU countries to make national choices.
  • EU Commission publishes the details of the specific provisions approved by each EU country on its website.


Source: European Commission

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