Invoice requirements

Last updated: 04-10-2013

Invoice requirements

Provided all applicable formalities are fulfilled, VAT will mainly be a compliance issue to most companies. The vast majority of companies have the right to a refund of paid VAT (main rule: all entrepreneurs except certain specific companies, e.g. banks, hospitals) and therefore will not "pay" any VAT as such.

Companies doing business in the Netherlands (e.g. supplying goods) will be confronted with different VAT compliance obligations.

There are 4 main VAT compliance obligations:

  1. Keep a proper administration;
  2. Issue invoices that are in compliance with the VAT requirements;
  3. File VAT returns; and
  4. (if applicable) Comply with other administrative obligations such as Intrastat, IC Sales Listing.

Administrative obligations

Companies subject to VAT should keep a proper administration for VAT purposes. The VAT position of the company must be clear from the administration. In the administration, a distinction is to be made between local (national) supplies and purchases and intra-community, import and export transactions. Files should include incoming and outgoing invoices, contracts, correspondence with tax authorities, etc.

In the Netherlands, files have to be kept for at least 7 years back. For transactions related to immovable property and rights to immovable property, the period is in principle 10 years.

Invoice requirements as of 1 January 2013

Specific information is to be included in the invoice. Depending on the factual situation, special requirements may apply.

As of 1 January 2013, the invoice requirements have been changed. The invoice should contain the following information:

Date of issuance invoice;

  • A sequential number;
  • VAT identification number of the supplier;
  • The VAT identification number of the customer (if required by the nature of the supply);
  • Full name and address of the supplier as well as the full name and address of the customer;
  • The quantity and a description of the goods supplied and services rendered;
  • The date the goods were supplied or the services were rendered;
  • The net amount subject to VAT, the applicable VAT rate and the amount of VAT due;
  • If the recipient issues the invoice instead of the supplier, the invoice should contain a description that ”the invoice has been issued by the recipient” (in Dutch:”factuur uitgereikt door de afnemer”);
  • If applicable, a reference to an exemption or an intra-community supply;
  • If the reverse charge rule is applicable, a reference thereto (in Dutch: “BTW verlegd”);
  • In case of means of transport; details about the means of transport (new or old);
  • If applicable, the reference to a special regime for travel agencies (i.e. in Dutch: ‘bijzondere regeling reisbureaus’);
  • If applicable, the reference: ‘special regime – used goods’ (in Dutch: ‘bijzonder regime – gebruikte goederen’), ‘special regime – art objects’ (in Dutch: ‘bijzonder regime – kunstvoorwerp’) or ‘special regime – antique objects’( in Dutch: ‘bijzonder regime – voorwerpen voor verzamelingen of antiquiteiten’);
  • If applicable, the full name and address of the fiscal representative as well as the VAT identification number of the fiscal representative.

The invoice may also be issued electronically. The entrepreneur issuing an electronic invoice should ensure that the invoice is authentic.

Simplified invoice requirements

As of 2013, it is – under circumstances – possible to issue a simplified invoice. This simplified invoice can be issued, in case the invoice amount is less than € 100. The following information should be included in the simplified invoice:

-         Date of issuance invoice;

-         Identity of the supplier;

-         A description of the goods supplied and services rendered;

-         The total VAT amount due or details in order to calculate the amount of VAT due;

-         In case of a credit invoice, a reference to the original invoice issued.

VAT return

The VAT return serves two purposes: it provides the tax authorities with an overview of the VAT that a company is required to pay in the Netherlands and at the same time it provides the tax authorities with an overview of the VAT that your company wishes to reclaim. The VAT return relates to a specific period of time (e.g. the month involved or the quarter involved). In the Netherlands, companies are obliged to file the VAT return electronically.

The VAT return will contain standard information (name, address etc.) about the company that will file the VAT return. It is important to verify this information and to notify the tax authorities if this information is wrong or has been subject to change.

Furthermore, the entrepreneur has to report the supply of goods and services he/she has performed and also it is possible to claim the VAT deduction.

The EU Sales Listing and Intrastat declaration

If a company performs intra-community supplies of products from the Netherlands, the obligation to submit a declaration of the intra-community supplies arises. This declaration should contain:

  • An overview of the VAT identification numbers of the customers of the company; and
  • The total value of the intra-community supplies made to each individual customer during that period.

The total value should be specified per customer, mentioning the VAT identification number of the customer and the country code of the country the customer is located. It is noted that the total value of the intra-community supplies made to all customers during a specific period should be similar to the total amount of intra-community supplies mentioned on the VAT return in the same period.

The Intrastat declaration

If the total value of intra-community supplies or intra-community acquisitions exceeds the threshold set by the Dutch authorities the obligation to file an Intrastat declaration arises. If only the total value of the intra-community supplies exceeds the threshold, an Intrastat declaration is only required with regard to the intra-community supplies and not with regard to the intra-community acquisitions. The Intrastat declarations in principle have to be filed electronically.

The Intrastat declaration should contain information on:

  • The VAT identification number of your company;
  • The reference period;
  • The EU Member State where the products are shipped from and the EU Member State the products are destined for. In this respect the country code as established by the Geonomenclature of the EU is utilized;
  • The nature of the transaction (e.g. sale, return shipment, repair);
  • The means of transport;
  • The eight digit Customs classification code of the product;
  • The statistic system. This is a specification of the flow of goods that allow the authorities to distinguish “normal” import and export from special situations such as transit and temporary relocation of stock;
  • The amount of products (normally declared in kilo, special regimes apply for specific products); and
  • The invoice value of the products.

Refund of Dutch VAT

As the refund procedure for VAT incurred is concerned, distinction should be made between VAT incurred by entrepreneurs established in non-EU and in EU countries.

Claiming refund of VAT for entrepreneurs from non-EU countries

Entrepreneurs established outside the EU who have been liable to Dutch VAT on goods obtained and services provided to them, can claim a VAT refund. 

One may apply for a VAT refund if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • It concerns a VAT entrepreneur with registered office outside theNetherlands.
  • That did not perform activities in theNetherlands.
  • To which Dutch VAT (BTW) has been charged. 

The request will only be dealt with if the foreign entrepreneur is registered as a non-resident entrepreneur with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. The claim must be submitted before 1 July in the year following the year over which the VAT refund is claimed.

The following documents must be enclosed together with the claim for a VAT refund:

  • declaration of entrepreneurship, preferably from the tax administration in your country
  • original invoices
  • import documents

Claiming refund of Dutch VAT for entrepreneurs from EU countries

If you are an entrepreneur residing in the EU and Dutch VAT has been charged, you can reclaim the VAT this digitally by the tax administration of the EU country in which you are established. You should always submit your claim before 1 October in the year following the year over which you are claiming

Dutch entrepreneurs can electronically reclaim the foreign VAT paid through the Dutch tax authorities. Moreover, late refund decisions by foreign tax authorities may result in interest payments by the foreign tax authorities to the entrepreneur who requested for a refund of the foreign VAT paid.


The EU directive does not stipulate penalties with regard to non-compliance. If the rules are contravened, then national rules apply. This can in principle imply that both parties involved in a transaction are liable to penalties.

The Member States of the EU must exchange information about enterprises that are subject to payment of VAT. The Netherlands does not supply other Member States with information if no legal obligation or mutual agreement exists, and if public order in the Netherlands, professional secrecy or the sensitivity of commercial knowledge is threatened to such exchange of information. In principle, companies should be able to obtain information about the accuracy of the VAT identification number of their clients from their own tax authority.

Excise duties

With respect to excise duties, the EU has set up an EU wide system. Mineral oils, alcoholic beverages and tobacco are subject to excise duties. Minimum rates have been established which will apply throughout the Union. Member States may also impose duties on other goods, provided this does not disrupt the free traffic of goods and services.

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Dealing with VAT registration and VAT compliance matters

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