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I have a client whom I suspect is just attempting to find ways to not pay invoices due, asking me to remove and change details continually on my invoices. Today they have requested that I remove the tax column on my invoice that states on the line no tax charged and also the subtotal line that states subtotal no tax because I am not VAT registered.

The invoice clearly reads that no VAT has been charged and no tax has been applied. I'm sure that this is correct although I could be wrong? Should I just remove this entirely for any legal/tax reasons or is the client potentially just using this as avoidance to pay?

  • You should contact an accountant in you country if you are unsure what to include on your invoice. I expect you are a self employed or have company as you are issueing invoices. – Jozef Izso Dec 7 '19 at 14:32
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"The invoice clearly reads" - but is it listed like a tally of things the client is paying for?

I can't say for sure whether you need to apply VAT or not, but if you are not charging VAT then I think you should explicitly state it in the invoice. (I think this is true even if there is VAT)

For example, in your invoice, you have something like

**SERVICES**         |    **CHARGE**
----------------------------------
Initial review               $40
Consultation                 $70
service                      $60
VAT                          $0
----------------------------------
**TOTAL**                    $170
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If you don't charge VAT, don't put a column on your invoice for it. If you did need to charge VAT, you'd have to be explicit about it, so it not being there means you're not charging it.

That said, your client sounds like they are nitpicking over nothing so they probably are just finding stupid things to try and delay payment. You may need to be more firm with them.

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  • I expect she cannot charge VAT on invoice as she is not VAT registered. – Jozef Izso Dec 7 '19 at 14:33
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There are a number of things an invoice must contain to be valid.

Your government has some info on this.

Your invoice must include:

  • a unique identification number
  • your company name, address and contact information
  • the company name and address of the customer you’re invoicing
  • a clear description of what you’re charging for
  • the date of the goods or service were provided (supply date)
  • the date of the invoice
  • the amount(s) being charged
  • VAT amount if applicable
  • the total amount owed

If you’re a sole trader, the invoice must also include:

  • your name and any business name being used
  • an address where any legal documents can be delivered to you if you are using a business name

If your invoice is formally wrong, i.e. missing some of the required information, your customer can rightfully demand to get a correct invoice from you before paying anything. After all they would get in trouble with the tax authorities for accepting an incorrect invoice.

If your invoice is formally correct, then it is valid and should not be changed. In fact, a valid invoice should never be chanced. The only way to correct an invoice that is formally correct is by issuing a credit note canceling out the value of the invoice.

If your client does not accept a formally correct invoice after some discussion, I´d send them a payment reminder and if the still don´t pay I´d threaten to give the matter to a lawyer or collections firm.

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