When do I need to issue a VAT invoice?

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Regulation 13 creates an obligation for a person registered for VAT to issue a VAT invoice.

The provision includes VAT invoices in respect of cross border supplies, self-billed invoices, and authenticated receipts in the construction industry. Leaving aside these matters, the regulation prescribes that a registered person is required to provide a VAT invoice when he makes a taxable supply to a taxable person.

This means a registered person does not always have to issue a VAT invoice for every supply he makes. And, since the issue of a VAT invoice may trigger a tax point, it may be prudent not to issue a VAT invoice.


A building contractor undertakes private work (e.g: home extension). The basic tax point is when he completes the project. If he were to issue a VAT invoice when commencing the work, he will ‘accelerate’ the output tax to the date of the invoice. Instead, he would be advised to agree a schedule of payments with the customer. In the absence of a VAT invoice, a tax point is triggered only when he receives a payment. As long as he avoids the Cash Accounting scheme, he can claim input tax when he is invoiced by his supplier.

About Les Howard


Hi, I am a VAT Consultant, working mainly with charities. I am based in Cambridgeshire

I have over 20 years experience in VAT, and am currently also a part-time member of the Tax Tribunals.


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