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Self-billing

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Newsletter issue - September 2012.

'Self-billing' is where the customer in the supplier/customer relationship raises the invoices to themselves for work done or goods provided by the supplier, instead of the supplier raising those invoices. Self-billing helps large organisations that need to pay out lots of small amounts to hundreds of suppliers. It allows their purchase invoices to be standardised which saves costs when processing, and payments to be made automatically at the time the invoice is raised.

However, there are significant disadvantages for the supplier who agrees to self-billing. The supplier losses control of when invoices are raised and may have no control over the amount billed and the amount of VAT shown on the invoice.

Although the VATman's guidance on their website says that the recipient of the supply (i.e. the customer who raises the self-billed invoice) is responsible for ensuring the invoice carries the correct VAT amount, it is actually the supplier who remains responsible for the amount of VAT charged.

If you are signed-up to self-billing as a supplier don't assume that the VAT shown on the invoices you receive from your customers is correct. You will remain responsible for any errors.