EU companies are required to do bookkeeping. This means that if you are working on a freelance basis for an EU company you will have to send invoices to receive payments. Generally EU requirements tend to be more strict than what’s common in the US.

If you have no experience with invoices, Paypal has a nice template you can simply use without needing to use Paypal as a payment method: Paypal invoice template generator

For example, you live in Kenya and you write texts for an awesome financial website that is built by a company in Estonia. To do things properly, you will have to send an invoice. A paypal invoice could work, but if you use paypal you are likely loose a big chunk of your money to them. Instead, you will end up with a lot more Kenyan Shillings if you get your client to sign up with Transferwise and get paid to your Kenyan bank account or even to your MPESA.

Requirements for an EU invoice

  • Date of issue, e.g. July 29th 2019
  • Unique sequential number identifying the invoice, e.g. "Invoice 2345"
  • Supplier’s full name & address, e.g. "Nelson Mandela, First Road nr 6, Johannesburg, South Africa"
  • Customer’s full name & address,. e.g. "SEO Crew OÜ, Sepapaja 6, 15551 Tallinn Estonia"
  • Description of quantity & type of goods supplied or type & extent of services rendered, e.g. a list of titles of delivered articles and the unit price for each article
  • Date of transaction or payment (if different from invoice date)

If you are inside the EU and have the handle VAT the following information also has to be provided.

  • VAT rate applied
  • VAT amount payable
  • Breakdown of VAT amount payable by VAT rate or exemption
  • Customer’s VAT identification number (if the customer is liable for the tax on the transaction)

Further reading