How long is a chicken skin

How long can you write an invoice retrospectively?

“Without a bill, no money.” Have you heard this sentence before? And maybe even get weak knees because you performed a service but haven't issued the invoice for it yet?

Don't worry: you can also issue an invoice retrospectively. The only question left is how long do you have time for this. That is exactly what we clarify in this article.

How long can an invoice be issued retrospectively?

The good news right at the beginning: There is no statute of limitations if you want to submit an invoice retrospectively.

So you can always write an invoice retrospectively - no matter how long ago the service or the product was delivered. Above all, it is important that you can prove that you have actually performed the service.

But now comes the big "but": You can issue and send an invoice to your customer retrospectively; but that doesn't mean your customer is still obliged to pay the bill.

Because there is a statute of limitations when it comes to your customer's obligation to pay.

Limitation period: when does my customer no longer have to pay?

So this is the crucial question: How long is your customer obliged to pay an invoice? As a rule - unless you have agreed otherwise with your customer - the period for the payment obligation is three years. After that, your customer is no longer obliged to pay.

Note: We are talking about three years here, but that is a bit inaccurate. This is because it is not a reference date at all, i.e. NOT exactly three years after the performance date. To be precise: Your customer is no longer obliged to pay after the third year after the service has been provided.

Example: Stefan is a photographer and did a couple shoot for Tim and Johanna on July 15, 2017. The payment obligation does NOT expire on July 15, 2020, but at the end of the third year, i.e. on December 31, 2020.

Can I change an invoice retrospectively?

Here, too, we can reassure you: Yes, an invoice can be corrected retrospectively.

To keep your bookkeeping clean and traceable, you first cancel the invoice that has already been issued by issuing a credit note for it. Then you write a new, correct invoice and send it to your customer.

A little hint: Before you start canceling and reissuing the incorrect invoice, contact your customer and let them know. Then he is not surprised when he receives a credit note and a new invoice.

Special case: Can I invoice VAT retrospectively?

Did you realize too late that you no longer fall under the small business regulation and wrongly issued invoices without sales tax? One thing is certain: you owe the tax to the tax office.

Option 1: If you can take it financially and don't want to ask your customers to pay back, you have to Calculate sales tax from the amounts paid and pay it to the tax office.

Option 2: In fact, you can also cancel the invoices here by crediting them and in the corrected invoices invoice the sales tax retrospectively.

Danger: This does not oblige your customers to actually pay the VAT amount. Because in court they can legitimately argue that the originally agreed amount was shown as a gross amount, which means that VAT is included.

Our tip: Maybe you just contact your customers and find out if they're willing to pay the sales tax. Especially if your customer is a taxable entrepreneur himself, you have a good chance, because he can then simply reclaim the sales tax from the tax office as input tax and thus has no additional costs.

Tip: Be on the safe side with an invoicing program

We cannot say it often enough: whether it is about writing an invoice, correcting an invoice or generally getting a grip on your accounting - investing in an invoice program is worthwhile!

With Debitoor you can write an invoice in less than a minute - both on your computer and on your mobile device - you can correct it in just a few clicks and on top of that you have numerous other useful functions, such as recording expenses, connecting your business account and sending the Advance VAT return directly to the tax office.

Our tip: Test Debitoor for free and let the program convince you. :)