Changes to invoice laws to impact in 2004

Small UK businesses are being urged to prepare themselves for changes in European invoicing laws, due to come into effect from 1 January.


Small UK businesses are being urged to prepare themselves for changes in European invoicing laws, due to come into effect from 1 January.

Small UK businesses are being urged to prepare themselves for changes in European invoicing laws, due to come into effect from 1 January.

According to some commentators the changes – part of the EU’s new invoicing directive, which is designed to harmonise practices across Europe – will mean some companies will even be “forced to accept invoices that are sent by email”. Federation of Small Businesses spokesman Stephen Alambritis is even quoted as saying “we would rather the commission get its act together by paying its bills on time”.

Accountancy firm PKF takes a more pragmatic view to the changes, however, explaining that “the directive allows the use of electronic invoicing across the EU provided certain conditions are met”. Most important of these conditions is the necessity for both vendor and purchaser to agree that electronic invoicing is appropriate.

Other changes to the invoicing laws include an obligation to show either unit prices or hourly rates on all invoices, providing these details are beneficial to the customer and for credit notes and receipts to show the same information as invoices.

In addition, from 1 January, UK firms will be able to issue simplified invoices on transactions up to the value of £250 including VAT. The current limit is £100.

Further details of the changes are available from the website of HM Customs & Excise at www.hmce.gov.uk/forms/notices/info1603.htm .

(24/12/03)

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