Invoicing German-style

Writing invoices as a freelancer may seem straight forward enough. The German tax authorities, however, have quite a long list of things that freelancers are required to include on invoices – some of which is more logical than others. We’ll start with the basics:

  • Translator’s name and complete address
  • Client’s name and complete address
  • Invoice number (must be consecutive!)
  • Invoice date
  • Brief description of service (translation) provided
  • Date that service (translation) was rendered (separate from invoice date even if the dates are identical)

Freelancers in Germany who earn more than 17,500 € per year are no longer regarded as “small businesses” (Kleinunternehmer). As a result, the list of details to include on invoices is much longer starting with 19% VAT tax (Umsatzsteuer) as well as:

  • Translator’s VAT tax ID number
  • Client’s VAT tax ID number
  • Invoice amount before VAT tax (net)
  • Total invoice amount with VAT tax (gross)

For more information about who is responsible for paying VAT in Germany, see my post from last year: Tax nation.

Tax season may very well be behind us, but by including all of the necessary information on your invoices throughout the year will definitely help things run smoothly come next spring and the next tax season.

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One response to “Invoicing German-style

  1. I’m so glad I’m not working as a freelancer in Germany!

    🙂

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