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VAT and invoice requirements

It is the month of October, the month in which the third quarter VAT return needs to be filed or in case of a monthly filing the September VAT return. A very important aspect of the VAT accounting are the contains of the invoices, not only the invoice the entrepreneur obtains when something is purchased, but also the invoices issued.

The rule is that 21% VAT is due on invoices issued, unless an exception applies. For instance 6%, but for this article we skip the 6% turnover. Any other percentage used needs to have a reason. Without this reason, there cannot be another VAT percentage.

0% VAT rate

For instance, you provide a service to another EU company. Can you simply charge 0%? No. You need to make inquiries if that other company is indeed a VAT entrepreneur and this is done by asking for their VAT number. Upon receipt of that VAT number and in case of a new client, please check if the number is valid. This is done online and if you google you find it quick enough. Then only if you put the VAT number of this EU VAT entrepreneur on your invoice, then you have met the invoice requirements to charge 0% VAT.

While filing the VAT return, there needs to be reported on VAT number basis to whom you charged 0% VAT in the EU. We already experience that the EU tax organizations are matching these filings.

The result can be as follows.

You have been issued a VAT number, but in fact you are a VAT exempted entrepreneur. So you do not charge, do not claim, do not file VAT. It can happen that the company from whom you purchase requests for your VAT number and even though you are VAT exempt, you happen to have a VAT number. So you provide that number and you receive what you ordered at 0% VAT. Then a couple of months later the Dutch tax office will ask you to confirm you purchased from this company and if confirmed, then you are charged with 21% VAT. You also could be fined for acting as VAT entrepreneur obtaining the 0% VAT benefit, while you are in fact not a VAT entrepreneur.

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