Question on EU intra-community VAT on invoices (again)
Thread poster: Peters Trans

Peters Trans
Local time: 07:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 8, 2004

I'm sure this topic has been covered many times, I've done a search, not found exactly what I was looking for. After having had problems getting my EU VAT Id. number here in France (I'm Irish), I finally got it this morning, and am eager to start invoicing again and actually get some money into my "rather depressed" bank account.

I worked in Spain in the past, and never had problems invoicing. Now, in France, where things seem to be more strictly controlled (and rightly so), I want to make sure I'm doing everything correctly.

I'm clear on the fact that I shouldn't charge VAT to my clients from other EU states, once these clients are also VAT registered. Is it true that their VAT Id. number should appear on my invoice? I've already asked one client in Spain for it and they've sent me their CIF. Sould I insist on their EU VAT number or is the CIF sufficient as a CIF does proove that the company is legally established in Spain?

Secondly, from what I've seen, in France anyway, when I don't charge VAT to my client I must specify the reason and corresponding article on my invoice. See note below:

"12° en cas d'exonération ou lorsque le client est redevable de la taxe ou lorsque l’assujetti applique le régime de la marge bénéficiaire, la référence à la disposition pertinente du CGI ou à la disposition correspondante de la sixième directive 77/388/CEE du 17 mai 1977 ou à toute autre mention indiquant que l’opération bénéficie d'une mesure d’exonération, d’un régime d'autoliquidation ou du régime de la marge bénéficiaire"

Is this true? Can any of my French based colleagues tell me what I should put on my invoice?

Thanking you all in adavnce!

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Local time: 07:21
English to Dutch
In the Netherlands Oct 8, 2004

Hi Peter,

Although I'm based in the Netherlands, I think most of it will be the same. We have to put the client's VAT number on the invoice. If we dont, we have to charge the going VAT-rate. '
As far as quoting the relevant tax law article: that's not so clear. One guy from the tax information line told me to refer to it, someone else said its not necessary. Since I have the reference, I put it on my EC-bills, just to be on the safe side.
Maybe it's easiest to call the tax authorities and just ask them. They should know, right?

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Local time: 22:21
English to French
+ ...
I never had to Oct 8, 2004

Of course, I left France last year, but I never had to state the client's VAT no. on my invoices, nor did I have to tell my local recette which law would apply for each specific transaction. My clients, on the other hand, did need my URSSAF and/or SIRET numbers for their files.
But don't take my word for it, by all means, go to your local Hôtel des Impôts and talk to your VAT people. As long as you are on the same page, you're fine. Not to mention, knowing them personally could prove very helpful at some point in the future.

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Local time: 07:21
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
In Denmark Oct 9, 2004

The thing about putting the client's VAT-no. on your invoice is rather new, I believe. I have done it all along, though - just to be on the safe side.

So, your Spanish client should provide his/her VAT-no. when asked. Then you can also check the validity of the VAT-no. here:

I do believe that one is actually required to put the reason for not charging VAT on the invoice, but in Denmark it's not necessary. I would ask the local tax authorities about this.

Good luck

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Patricia Posadas  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:21
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
In Spain Oct 9, 2004

1st / You were "lucky" to be able to invoice intracommunitary customers without stating your VAT in your invoices when you were in Spain, I wonder how your customers were able process your invoices though, unless they had your number in their files. Anyway one thing is sure, you need to state your customers'VAT number in your VAT return. Otherwise they claim for it, I have had this twice with two French customers who didn't seem to know how to get their intracommuniatry VAT No. The Spanish tax agency gets the info from some European agency and it comes down to you. It takes some time but they finally claim for it.

2nd/ In Spain it is very easy to know someone's VAT number because it is the same as the CIF / NIF you only need to add ES to that number, i.e. CIF: B00000000 -> intracommunitary VAT No.: ESB00000000

You can check whether what you got is a valid VAT No. here:

If it is not valid, maybe your customer didn't fill in the right form for import-export transactions.

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