Invoice requirements in Germany.
Thread poster: l Gaston l

l Gaston l  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:46
Afrikaans to Ancient Hebrew
+ ...
Mar 22, 2010

Hi there,

I'm Gaston, a ProZ.com developer. I've been building a invoice template valid for Germany, that could be used as reference for translators that are starting their business in the translation industry.

In order to build the invoice template I've started by reading invoice requirements in Germany.

With the information I collected, I've created the following wiki page that I hope it will be useful for translators working in Germany:

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Invoicing_requirements_for_Germany

I invite you to review the information I've written and add/edit whatever you consider necessary, and keep a place updated with requirements for invoicing in Germany.

Thanks in advance to all with willing to collaborate in this article.

Best regards,
Gastón


 

Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
German to Spanish
Thank you Mar 22, 2010

Thank you, Gastón,


But, Why should we write "eine Rechnung" in english?


Saludos


Fernando

...And, I really don't understand what is the intention of this template?

What is here different to the hundreds of templates in Word or the thousands in internet (for free and to use offline)?

[Edited at 2010-03-22 15:03 GMT]


 

Rebekka Groß (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:46
English to German
feedback: template needs German title Mar 22, 2010

l Gaston l wrote:

Hi there,

I'm Gaston, a ProZ.com developer. I've been building a invoice template valid for Germany, that could be used as reference for translators that are starting their business in the translation industry.

In order to build the invoice template I've started by reading invoice requirements in Germany.

With the information I collected, I've created the following wiki page that I hope it will be useful for translators working in Germany:

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Invoicing_requirements_for_Germany

I invite you to review the information I've written and add/edit whatever you consider necessary, and keep a place updated with requirements for invoicing in Germany.

Thanks in advance to all with willing to collaborate in this article.

Best regards,
Gastón


Hi Gaston

As the template provides all the info in German, the title should read "Rechnung", not "Invoice".

Regards

Rebekka


 

Rebekka Groß (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:46
English to German
and a question: Is the statement below by vendors not based in Germany a requirement. Mar 22, 2010

A number of years ago, one of my clients asked that vendors not based in Germany, but within the EU, add the following in both English and German to their invoices:

"Das fakturierte Entgelt ist in Ihrem Land steuerpflichtig und von Ihnen als Steuerschuldner zu versteuern (§ 13 b Abs. 1 Nr. 1 UStG und § 13 Abs. 2 UStG)."
"The invoiced remuneration is subject to taxation in your country and you shall pay tax on it as a tax debtor (Art. 13 b Para. 1 No. 1 German VAT Act and Art. 13 Para. 2 German VAT Act)."

I've tried to find out whether this is still a requirement but haven't had any answers from my clients. Maybe someone here knows the answer.


 

Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
German to Spanish
Now Mar 22, 2010

Rebekka Groß wrote:



Hi Gaston

As the template provides all the info in German, the title should read "Rechnung", not "Invoice".

Regards

Rebekka


Now it is in german!


Here are some other templates to be use without tools:

http://office.microsoft.com/de-de/templates/CT101172551031.aspx



Regards


Fernando


 

l Gaston l  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:46
Afrikaans to Ancient Hebrew
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your feedback Fernando and Rebekka Mar 22, 2010

Hi Fernando and Rebekka,

Thanks for taking the time to provide some feedback.

The sample invoice and template are both in german now, including the word "Invoice".

The intention with this is to have a unified place for translators getting started in the translation industry, to use as starting point at the time to know how to invoice in Germany.

This page is a "WIKI page", which means all users can contribute in the content (like Wikipedia), so if you want to add / change / remove something, you can just click on the "edit" tab at the top of the page, and you will be able to modify any single part of it.

So, the next time someone asks for invoicing requirements or something, we have a place to refer this user to, related to, and we can keep it easily updated altogether.

In this case, Fernando, I will add the link you posted here (related to other invoice templates), so people can use them too.

Other things that could be added are references to pages or forum posts where there was a conversation about invoicing and invoicing requirements in Germany.


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
German to English
VAT to be paid by recipient Mar 22, 2010

I don't think that the very complicated wording of the VAT notice is necessary, but you should clearly state on your invoice (from another EU country) that no VAT has been collected because the recipient is responsible for paying it himself to the German government.

I don't know what is appropriate for invoices from outside the EU.

The invoice also needs to be sent by snail mail or as a signed fax-machine fax (not computer fax) or as a PDF with an official electronic signature. If this is not done, it will not be valid document for some tax purposes. For example, it will be invalid as the basis for your client's claim for a refund of the VAT that he or she paid.


 

Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
German to English
+ ...
Recipient VAT within Germany Mar 23, 2010

Since when do you need to cite the recipient's VAT number for invoices within Germany?

 

Rebekka Groß (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:46
English to German
e-mail and no signature Mar 23, 2010

Michael Wetzel wrote:


The invoice also needs to be sent by snail mail or as a signed fax-machine fax (not computer fax) or as a PDF with an official electronic signature. If this is not done, it will not be valid document for some tax purposes. For example, it will be invalid as the basis for your client's claim for a refund of the VAT that he or she paid.


I haven't sent an invoice by fax or snail mail in many years - this is not a requirement for the German tax office.

Also, I would NEVER sign an invoice because as the owner of a translation office taught me way back when I was a student, the recipient could just stamp the signature with "Received with thanks".


 

Eric Hahn (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:46
French to German
+ ...
More appropriate templates Mar 24, 2010

Michael Wetzel wrote:

I don't know what is appropriate for invoices from outside the EU.



In view of the new VAT regulations, there should be 3 templates for use in Germany :

- 1 for clients in Germany
- 1 for clients inside the EU
- 1 for clients outside the EU


 
Freelance Recruitment Consultant looking for sample Invoices Mar 14, 2011

Dear friends,

I am starting my own freelancing recruiting business in Germany soon. I would be concentrating on Germany, EU and Non EU as well. I read this post and got lot of information on invoice preparing. I would like to know whether there is a specific format for Invoices generated by recruitment consultants, if yes, then can any one provide me with one.
also suggestions / sample format of Invoices for EU and non EU would be helpful.


 

Sarah Swift  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:46
German to English
I suspect that the most useful templates will be those which can be easily adapted... Mar 15, 2011

Eric Hahn wrote:

In view of the new VAT regulations, there should be 3 templates for use in Germany :

- 1 for clients in Germany
- 1 for clients inside the EU
- 1 for clients outside the EU



Good point, and succintly put. But besides the location of the client, I can think if three more factors which might be relevant some of the time. The location of the translator can play a role too, as can the type of job and the VAT status of the translator. Offhand I can remember and/or dream up the following scenarios:

1. Translators outside Germany and outside the EU - for example, translators in Switzerland - may need to write invoices in German for German/Austrian/Swiss/East Belgian clients. These translators will not be collecting VAT in Germany, but don't need an extra sentence added to tell the client that VAT is not being collected because he is responsible for paying it to his own tax authority.

2. Clients outside Germany but within the EU pay VAT in their own countries if the transaction is B2B, but in Germany if the transaction is B2C. I am based in Germany and I recently translated an essay for a Ph.D. student who needed to read it for his thesis. That fell into this category, as he didn't have a VAT number.

3. Within Germany, I sometimes charge VAT at two different rates on a single invoice because some parts of a given job are obviously destined for publication (a company website, say) and thus attract the lower rate of 7%, and other parts will not be published and the VAT thus has to be collected at the higher rate of 19%.

I have no idea what the VAT situation is like for translators in Austria or in East Belgium (or outside the EU, say for translators in Switzerland working for clients in Switzerland). What rates of VAT apply to translations? Do variable rates apply in different circumstances? What rules and thresholds exist for VAT registration? (In Germany, lots of translators start out as "Kleinunternehmer," small businesses not registered for VAT, and they can keep that status for some time if they only work part-time. That's another scenario in which no VAT is collected.)

Given that the four factors mentioned allow a slew of permutations, I think the best templates will be the flexible ones which translators find easiest to customize.


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:46
German to English
I'm afraid it is Mar 15, 2011

Rebekka Groß wrote: I haven't sent an invoice by fax or snail mail in many years - this is not a requirement for the German tax office.


I'm afraid it actually is a statutory requirement in Germany (paper invoice or electronic invoice that has been digitally signed using a security system authorised by the relevant government agency in Germany).

However, this rule now appears to be complied with more in the breach than the observance, so if your German clients are happy with a PDF, that's actually their problem (they can always ask you to send a paper original if necessary).

The German government has a project to simplify the invoicing rules, including abolishing the complex digital signature rules, but this seems to have got bogged down in bureaucratic delay and political infighting.


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:46
German to English
Still a requirement Mar 15, 2011

Rebekka Groß wrote: A number of years ago, one of my clients asked that vendors not based in Germany, but within the EU, add the following in both English and German to their invoices:


Yes, the boilerplate (Hinweis auf den Übergang der Steuerpflicht) is still required for invoices issued outside Germany (both in the EU and in third countries. There are a number of variants of the standard boilerplate, which can be written in German and/or English.

Basically, a German invoice template will need a number of variants:

1) Invoice issued by VAT-registered provider in Germany
2) Invoice issued by non-VAT-registered provider (Kleinunternehmerregelung) in Germany
3) Invoice issued by VAT-registered provided in another EU country
4) Invoice issued by non-VAT-registered provider (small business exemption or equivalent) in another EU country
5) Invoice issued by provider domiciled in a third (non-EU) country

All variants will have to comply with a) the formal requirements for invoices stipulated by German tax law (largely based on the EU formal invoice presentation rules) and b) any additional formal requirements that may apply in the country in which the invoice is issued.

Tax advisers, lawyers and academics write lengthy papers on various aspects of the formal legal invoice requirements, and nobody (including ProZ) should attempt to define invoice templates for use in Germany without clearing them first with a tax adviser (Steuerberater) or lawyer (think "liability").


 

Sarah Swift  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:46
German to English
Can we identify six invoice templates? Or is it worse than that? Mar 15, 2011

RobinB wrote:

Basically, a German invoice template will need a number of variants:

...
5) Invoice issued by provider domiciled in a third (non-EU) country.


...or issued by a provider within the EU to a client outside the EU (zero-rated VAT.)


Tax advisers, lawyers and academics write lengthy papers on various aspects of the formal legal invoice requirements, and nobody (including ProZ) should attempt to define invoice templates for use in Germany without clearing them first with a tax adviser (Steuerberater) or lawyer (think "liability").


Trying to come up with templates on a Wiki basis without assistance from experts is dangerous. If I write my own invoices, then I know it is my responsibility to check rules and regulations and take legal or tax advice if necessary. If I find templates on the internet that look fine, I wouldn't expect them to get me into hot water with my local tax office, or worse, but that's definitely a risk here. In the land of the blind (new translators), the one-eyed man (or the translators with some experience) may be king, but just think how useful a two-eyed man could be, somebody who is a genuine expert in the field.

I don't think the tax authorities in Germany really care very much about how invoices are delivered, whatever the formal requirements. I use snail-mail for two groups of clients: the ones who prefer it that way, and the ones who have not yet proven themselves to be reliable, timely payers. With this latter group, I make sure to conform with legal requirements to the letter and create a paper trail.


 


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Invoice requirements in Germany.

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