What invoice format is required in your country? (Seeking examples.)
Thread poster: Jason Grimes

Jason Grimes
Local time: 14:50
SITE STAFF
Feb 9, 2010

As you probably know, invoice requirements vary in different countries and jurisdictions. In order to be considered legally valid, invoices must generally be written in the country's official language, and sometimes must be in a particular format with particular content.

I'm collecting sample invoices from different countries, in order to provide useful templates to users of the ProZ.com invoicing tool.

I currently have sample invoices in five languages: English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. However, I'm not certain if these sample invoices are actually valid in the countries they have been used in. If you have any knowledge about that, please share it in this discussion.

What are the invoicing requirements in your country? Do you have a sample invoice from your own country that you are willing to share? If so, please send it to me at jason at proz.com, and I will add it to this post for everyone's reference. (So please don't include any sensitive information!)

Thanks in advance for sharing your expertise.

Best regards,

Jason
ProZ.com Staff


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:50
Italian to English
UK Feb 9, 2010

Hi Jason

I suspect it is not so much a question of language as of national legislation.
The UK requiirements are here: http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?r.s=sl&type=RESOURCES&itemId=1073791759 , which are much less restrictive than most of Europe but constantly subject to EU updating legislation.

[Edited at 2010-02-10 15:47 GMT]


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:50
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
local format for number and dates Feb 10, 2010

Dear Jason,

I've had a look at the German template. It seems to contain all necessary information except the VAT number of the issuer. Also, the date of the service is an essential information. In the example, the description "Beschreibung" contains this information, but it might be better to have a separate field for it.

General information about the German legislation for issuing invoices can be found here (§ 3, page 8):

http://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/nn_53848/DE/... publicationFile.pdf


There is no VAT or GST in Germany (it's called USt. here). Also, the correct date and number format should be used. The template doesn't.

Best regards,
Erik

Edit: Also, the bank details of the issuer are missing. AFAIK, this isn't a legal requirement, but still ...

[Bearbeitet am 2010-02-10 10:12 GMT]

[Bearbeitet am 2010-02-10 10:12 GMT]


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Alessandra Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:50
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
Mistakes in Italian template Feb 10, 2010

Hi Jason,

I had a look at the Italian template and I found the following issues:

-VAT ID of the issuer is missing (the Italian name of VAT ID is PARTITA IVA)
- similarly, in the tax field VAT has to be replaced by IVA
- there is no GST in Italy
- the number format in Italian is 1.000,00 (not 1,000.00)
- the date format shall be DD/MM/YY

Looking for an exhaustive and updated link containing a description of mandatory fields, but couldn't find any so far. I'll just add it to the post as soon as I find one

Have a nice day,
Alessandra

[Edited at 2010-02-10 08:44 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
ZA Feb 10, 2010

Jason Grimes wrote:
What are the invoicing requirements in your country?


IANAL, and the South African Translators' Institute makes no attempt to inform its members of their invoice obligations, so I can only tell you what I think is correct.

See here for the South African Revenue Service's FAQ on invoices:
http://www.sars.gov.za/Tools/Documents/DocumentDownload.asp?FileID=50879

One thing that is not mentioned on that FAQ file but which I have heard, is that the serial number on the invoice must be incremental. My own invoices' serial numbers are not incremental. Perhaps the attitude is that "serial" implies increments.


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NR_Stedman  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:50
French to English
French examples Feb 10, 2010

Thanks Jason for this initiative

I tried out the ProZ invoicing tool and found it very easy to use and extremely well designed.
The only problem of course is that the final invoice must meet the legal requirements of each particular country.

In France an invoice for service providers is called a « Note d’Honoraires »

Here is a link with all the information required for a French invoice + example (better that my own!)

http://www.futurn.net/sections.php?op=viewarticle&artid=18

There are lots more examples to be found of course.

I was also wondering if you could leave a space for translators to insert their bank account details on the invoice (Swift code etc.)



[Edited at 2010-02-10 09:55 GMT]


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:50
German to English
No VAT or GST in the US Feb 10, 2010

English-language sample shows a US company billing another in the US. No VAT or GST in the US. GST is the Canadian version of VAT.

In some US states there may a sales tax on services, but that will depend on the individual state.


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 14:50
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Summary of issues. Feb 11, 2010

Hi everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to review the sample invoices and give feedback. It sounds like this basic invoice layout would generally work in each of your countries, but some of the content should be different.

As I understand it, the following elements of an invoice would change depending on the country in which it is considered valid:

* Language
* Currency
* Number format
* Date format
* Which taxes apply (and their amounts)
* Billing/contact information (tax ID, address format)

In addition, a couple extra fields are needed:

* Some countries require a "Date of service" field
* Invoices in all countries could probably benefit from adding a "payment details" field

Does this sound like a complete summary of changes required in order to make the invoice template valid for your country?

Thanks again,

Jason


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 14:50
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
French invoices: Facture vs. Note d’honoraires Feb 11, 2010

NR_Stedman wrote:
In France an invoice for service providers is called a « Note d’Honoraires »

Here is a link with all the information required for a French invoice + example (better that my own!)

http://www.futurn.net/sections.php?op=viewarticle&artid=18


Hi NR_Stedman,

Thanks for this information. I don't read French well, so I'm not confident that I understand this point. Is it correct to say that in France, an invoice for the sale of a product is called a "Facture", while an invoice for services rendered is called a "Note d’honoraires"?

Thanks,

Jason


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:50
English to German
+ ...
Grrrmmmmpppfffhihihi... sorry... Feb 11, 2010

I love this part: "Adjustments - Discounts" / "Berichtigungen - Preisnachlass".

What on earth is that for? Has it become so normal that translators cut their rates that an extra column has to be allotted for discounts? How about a column for additional fees instead?


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 14:50
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Adjustments column is used for surcharges and/or discounts Feb 11, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:

I love this part: "Adjustments - Discounts" / "Berichtigungen - Preisnachlass".

What on earth is that for? Has it become so normal that translators cut their rates that an extra column has to be allotted for discounts? How about a column for additional fees instead?


Hi Nicole,

In the invoicing tool, that column is used for any kind of adjustment, whether it's an additional fee or a discount. Is there a more appropriate German term that would make that heading clearer?

Thanks,

Jason


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:50
English to German
+ ...
Hi Jason Feb 11, 2010

Jason Grimes wrote:

Hi Nicole,

In the invoicing tool, that column is used for any kind of adjustment, whether it's an additional fee or a discount. Is there a more appropriate German term that would make that heading clearer?

Thanks,

Jason


At all times any amendments to the rate / fee agreed upon should remain a rare exception and should be listed as an additional item. To have an extra column for that strikes me as highly unprofessional.


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:50
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
agree with Nicole: adjustments column should be dropped Feb 11, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Jason Grimes wrote:

Hi Nicole,

In the invoicing tool, that column is used for any kind of adjustment, whether it's an additional fee or a discount. Is there a more appropriate German term that would make that heading clearer?

Thanks,

Jason


At all times any amendments to the rate / fee agreed upon should remain a rare exception and should be listed as an additional item. To have an extra column for that strikes me as highly unprofessional.


I agree. Although I wouldn't necessarily call it "unprofessional", it's uncalled for, and I've never seen invoices built this way.


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