Invoice requirements in United Kingdom
Thread poster: l Gaston l

l Gaston l  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:47
Afrikaans to Ancient Hebrew
+ ...
Mar 18, 2010

Hi there,

I'm Gaston, a ProZ.com developer. I've been building a invoice template valid at United Kingdom, 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 following an article provided by Russell Jones at this topic.

Hi there,

I'm Gaston, a ProZ.com developer. I've been building a invoice template valid at United Kingdom, 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 following an article provided by Russell Jones at this topic.


The UK requirements 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.


In addition, I've read some forum topics I've found in this forum regarding invoices and requirements.

With all this information I've build the following wiki page that I hope it will be useful for translators working in the United Kingdom:

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

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

Thanks Russell for your help, and thanks in advance to all with willing to collaborate in this article.

Best regards,
Gastón
Collapse


 

Paul Skidmore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:47
German to English
Suggestions to improve the sample pdf invoice Mar 19, 2010

Hi Gaston,

As someone very familiar with the UK (even though my business is not based there), I just wanted to point out that the sample pdf contains dates which are not in the standard UK format.

In the UK we use day / month / year and not month / day / year.

In addition, your sample invoice assumes that the sole trader is registered for VAT (as they are charging this). However, their VAT registration number is not mentioned anywhere on the invoice.
... See more
Hi Gaston,

As someone very familiar with the UK (even though my business is not based there), I just wanted to point out that the sample pdf contains dates which are not in the standard UK format.

In the UK we use day / month / year and not month / day / year.

In addition, your sample invoice assumes that the sole trader is registered for VAT (as they are charging this). However, their VAT registration number is not mentioned anywhere on the invoice.

I suggest that you check that the sample invoice meets all the requirements for VAT registered traders.

Hope this helps.

Paul
Collapse


 

l Gaston l  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:47
Afrikaans to Ancient Hebrew
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your suggestion Mar 19, 2010

Paul Skidmore wrote:

Hi Gaston,

As someone very familiar with the UK (even though my business is not based there), I just wanted to point out that the sample pdf contains dates which are not in the standard UK format.

In the UK we use day / month / year and not month / day / year.

In addition, your sample invoice assumes that the sole trader is registered for VAT (as they are charging this). However, their VAT registration number is not mentioned anywhere on the invoice.

I suggest that you check that the sample invoice meets all the requirements for VAT registered traders.

Hope this helps.

Paul


Hi Paul,

Thanks for taking the time to provide me with some advice to improve the sampe invoce.

Regarding VAT, I tried to make a sample like:

Sole trader -> End client.

In that case, VAT should not be included in the invoice? I've tried to find the answer at the page cited in my first post and I read:


If you are selling to an individual customer or a non-VAT registered company in another European Union (EU) country, you must pay VAT.


But didn't understand if despite of being me the one paying it, I should show it in the invoice.

By the way, what is the most common case of invoicing for a translator that is just starting his career in the translation business? Sole trader -> End client?

Thanks again Paul for your suggestions.

Best,
Gastón


 

Paul Skidmore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:47
German to English
VAT is tricky Mar 19, 2010

Hi Gaston,

Your example "sole trader" invoicing "end client" isn't specific enough to know whether VAT must be charged.

There are several factors involved.

First, a sole trader may or may not be registered for VAT. Above a certain annual turnover threshold VAT registration is mandatory. Below that threshold VAT registration is optional.

So much in relation to the sole trader.

Turning to my client who you describe as an "end client"
... See more
Hi Gaston,

Your example "sole trader" invoicing "end client" isn't specific enough to know whether VAT must be charged.

There are several factors involved.

First, a sole trader may or may not be registered for VAT. Above a certain annual turnover threshold VAT registration is mandatory. Below that threshold VAT registration is optional.

So much in relation to the sole trader.

Turning to my client who you describe as an "end client". Even if I am registered for VAT, whether in this specific case I must charge VAT to my client depends on

(a) where my client is located - in the same country, in another EU Member State, or in a third country outside the EU e.g. Switzerland, USA, etc

(b) who my client is - whether it is a business, private individual, not for profit organisation etc

(c) if my client is a business in another EU Member State whether that business is VAT-registered.

My impression is that in the UK many translators at the start of their career choose not to register for VAT. Because the threshold for mandatory registration is much higher in the UK than in many other EU Member States it is possible to make a decent living without VAT registration.

Paul
Collapse


 

l Gaston l  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:47
Afrikaans to Ancient Hebrew
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification about the invoice sample Mar 19, 2010

Hi again Paul,

Thanks for your comments, your clarifications are really appreciated.

At the moment of creating the invoice sample, I took as "Sole trader" a translator that is getting started in the translation business.


"Self-employed tax and employed tax are generally the same as far as I know. You have a tax-free threshold of around £6430 (you... See more
Hi again Paul,

Thanks for your comments, your clarifications are really appreciated.

At the moment of creating the invoice sample, I took as "Sole trader" a translator that is getting started in the translation business.


"Self-employed tax and employed tax are generally the same as far as I know. You have a tax-free threshold of around £6430 (you can check this on the HMRC website) and after that you pay 20% on everything up to £38,000 more or less. You don't need to register for a VAT number until your self-employed business earns over £68,000 per year and this means that you don't have to pay VAT so you don't really need to invoice for it unless your company will be earning close to that amount."


Source: Getting started as a freelance translator in the UK.

Then, I read about the "VAT registration" being mandatory here, but seems like this is a missunderstood, based on what Russell says here.

Related to the end client, I took an "individual" for the example.

I will clarify this at the wiki page and I will add the information you provided too, which is extremely useful.

By the way, I have change the date format (day / month / year) as you suggested.

Thanks again for taking the time to review the invoice sample and provide your corrections.

My idea is to have a place to use as reference for translators who are getting started in the business and need to understand how to do invoicing in the UK.

To conclude, I want to invite those who are interested on this, to edit the wiki page clicking on the "edit" link (located at the top of the wiki page) to add/correct/remove whatever you consider necessary.

Best!,
Gastón
Collapse


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:47
Italian to English
Comments Mar 21, 2010

l Gaston l wrote:

Then, I read about the "VAT registration" being mandatory here, but seems like this is a missunderstood, based on what Russell says here.



Hi Gaston
There still seem to be some uncertainties about the new EU regulations on VAT. Perhaps understandably, the UK VAT authorities have seen no need to contact unregistered traders about the changes. There are one or two signs, however, that outsourcers in other EU countries may be unable to deal with unregistered UK translators within the terms of their own amended national regulations. I hope this proves not to be the case but it could come to a head next month when the quarterly sales lists are due.

I would say (without any statistical evidence) that the most common case of invoicing for a translator that is just starting his /her career in the translation business is Sole trader -> Translation Agency.

Someone translating into English from another European language may very well be working primarily for foreign agencies and may be required to submit their invoices in the foreign language and format.

In some European countries, it is the practice to quote legislation to back up claims e.g for treatment of tax. So invoices may need substantial footers quoting the terms or reference details for e.g. double taxation treaties or exemption from witholding (income) tax.

And, of course, since bank transfers are the main method of payment in Europe (less so within the UK where cheques are still sometimes used), bank account details are needed in the form of Swift and IBAN codes.


 

l Gaston l  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:47
Afrikaans to Ancient Hebrew
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your comments Mar 22, 2010

Hi Russell,

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

I didn't know you should invoice in foreign language when issuing invoices to other countries, that's interesting. I've built some guides about creating invoices for other countries as Spain and Germany, would be nice if we can have a set of countries, with guides of how to invoice for those countries.

Thanks again for your comments!
Gastón


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:47
Italian to English
Monthly projects Mar 23, 2010

Hi Gaston

It's not a question of "should invoice in foreign language", it's just that the invoice has to be intelligible to the client if you expect to get paid!

One point I should have mentioned before:
Many agencies send their regular freelancers a series of different jobs from the same or different end clients but expect to receive a single invoice at the month end.
This means that the translator's own job numbers and the agency's PO numbers need to be in
... See more
Hi Gaston

It's not a question of "should invoice in foreign language", it's just that the invoice has to be intelligible to the client if you expect to get paid!

One point I should have mentioned before:
Many agencies send their regular freelancers a series of different jobs from the same or different end clients but expect to receive a single invoice at the month end.
This means that the translator's own job numbers and the agency's PO numbers need to be included in each line, not in the invoice header.
Collapse


 

l Gaston l  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:47
Afrikaans to Ancient Hebrew
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I will add that to the guide. Mar 23, 2010

Russell Jones wrote:

It's not a question of "should invoice in foreign language", it's just that the invoice has to be intelligible to the client if you expect to get paid!


Jajaja, you made me laugh! That's completely true! What a fool of me.

I was actually wondering about the "format" of the invoice when I made that question. If you have to invoice your client in the invoice format of their country, or is just the same invoice, in the client's language.

I'm imagining I'm working with an Arabic client, and I'm issuing him an invoice, I will probably be able to translate the invoice, but learning how they invoice will be quite difficult. How this get handled?

Russell Jones wrote:

Many agencies send their regular freelancers a series of different jobs from the same or different end clients but expect to receive a single invoice at the month end.
This means that the translator's own job numbers and the agency's PO numbers need to be included in each line, not in the invoice header.


Good to know, I will add that to the guide (if you didn't already).

Thanks again for your comments Russell, very helpful.


 


There is no moderator assigned specifically to this forum.
To report site rules violations or get help, please contact site staff »


Invoice requirements in United Kingdom

Advanced search






Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search