4th May 2021 / Tax

Why does my accountant keep chasing me for VAT invoices?

There's a good reason for us to be chasing for this information. HMRC VAT invoice requirements demand it and they are known to do spot checks. In fact, they carry out numerous checks every year. Whatsmore, the penalties can be large and the sympathy...well...non-existent.

In fact, we recently heard of a case that was taken to the Tax Tribunal, who found in favour of HMRC disallowing a claim for VAT input tax of circa £15,000 due to “insufficient information being shown on the VAT invoice”. It was stated that the invoice MUST provide sufficient information so that the nature of the goods or services provided are clearly identifiable.

You are not able to say “services as agreed” but instead must stipulate what the services were. You need to detail the type of criteria using one of the following categories of supply:

  • Sale on commission
  • Goods made from the customer’s materials
  • Hire, lease or rental
  • Way of exchange
  • Loan
  • Hire purchase or any similar transaction
  • Sale
  • Sale or return or similar terms, or any other type of supply which the Commissioners may at any time by notice specify.

So, aside from the above, what other information needs to be on a UK VAT invoice? Perhaps more than you might have thought. There are a further eleven elements that need to be reflected on a valid VAT invoice and these are:

  1. An identifying number,

  2. The time of the supply,

  3. The date of the issue of the document,

  4. The name, address and registration number of the supplier,

  5. The name and address of the person to whom the goods or services are supplied,

  6. A description sufficient to identify the goods or services supplied,

  7. For each description, the quantity of the goods or the extent of the services, and the rate of VAT and the amount payable, excluding VAT, expressed in sterling,

  8. The gross total amount payable, excluding VAT, expressed in sterling,

  9. The rate of any cash discount offered,

  10. Each rate of VAT chargeable and the amount of VAT chargeable, expressed in sterling, at each such rate, and

  11. The total amount of VAT chargeable, expressed in sterling.

This information forms part of the 1995 Vale Added Tax regulations and more information can be found on the website.

This is the reason we go on about it. It is important and can cost you a lot of money. At our firm, we do not allow you to claim VAT without a valid VAT invoice unless there are any applicable exceptions.


Thankfully, Cloud accounting has made the whole process a lot easier for the people we work with. Customers can take a look at their accounts any time from any device that uses an internet connection.

One of the apps we use to make life a little bit easier is Dext, Previously Receipt Bank, which is a secure way to keep copies of all your receipts. Simply snap a photo of your receipt and send it - no more paper and no need for any manual inputting!

Nottingham Accountants M.A.D. are based in West Bridgford and work throughout the UK. To find out how we use cloud accounting to support businesses and individuals, get in touch.

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