Skip to content
× FreshBooks App Logo
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
You're currently on our UK site. Select your regional site here:
4 Min. Read

What Is a VAT Receipt? What Proof Do You Need to Reclaim?

What Is a VAT Receipt? What Proof Do You Need to Reclaim?

VAT stands for Value Added Tax, and a VAT receipt represents that tax on purchases you make from suppliers. You’ll often get your receipt at the time of purchase when you receive goods. There are several key pieces of information on VAT receipts, which we will cover in greater detail below.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

Understanding Your VAT Receipt

Getting a VAT Receipt

Key Takeaways

Understanding Your VAT Receipt

On your VAT receipt, you will find essential details reflecting your purchase and the supplier you purchased goods from. Some of these details include:

  • Supplier VAT registration number
  • Gross paid
  • Tax date

It’s important to note that should you need a VAT return, the information listed on your receipt isn’t enough. To successfully secure a VAT return or rebate, you are required to present the original purchase receipt, known as a VAT invoice.

This acts as your proof of purchase and allows you to conduct transactions like those described above. As a business owner, you likely will not be able to get your rebate amount if you don’t have a valid VAT receipt.

Key Details for Reclaiming

Now that you have a fundamental understanding of what a VAT receipt entails, let’s take a closer look at what you’ll typically find on them. For a receipt to be deemed valid to where you can qualify for a VAT rebate, the receipt must include the following data:

  • VAT registration number of seller
  • A list of the purchased goods
  • The unique invoice number
  • Business address of buyer
  • Business address of seller
  • Tax date (date of supply)
  • Business name of buyer
  • Business name of seller
  • Receipt issuance date

In some instances and depending on where you conduct business, you might not receive a receipt for goods purchased. In fact, many retailers in the UK won’t issue a VAT receipt for sales lower than £250 (VAT included).

However, if you request a VAT receipt, the retailer should give you one. But please be aware that many retailers provide what are known as simplified VAT receipts. This type of documentation is quite limited in the information it provides.

On simplified VAT receipts, you will usually find:

  • VAT registration number of seller
  • A list of the purchased goods
  • Name and address of seller
  • Tax date (date of supply)

With this in mind, simplified VAT receipts for sales that consist of differing VAT rates must also show:

  • The VAT rate for each product
  • The gross cost of goods
  • VAT amount

Therefore, your receipt should display each unique item whose tax rate is different. This ensures that you have a detailed record of each VAT rate applicable to you at the time of supply.

Getting a VAT Receipt

There isn’t a convoluted method required to get your VAT receipt. You simply need to ask your supplier for one, and they will present your receipt upon request. Of course, this is in the real world. Online purchases from sites like Amazon require a few more steps.

Fortunately, Amazon offers an aptly named Amazon VAT Receipt that you can easily print once your order is shipped out. Moreover, you can go to your Amazon orders and choose “View Order Details”. It’s there that you have the option to print your VAT receipt.

If you have trouble locating the order in question, find and select the link called “Order placed in”. Once you locate the correct order, open its details. You may proceed to print out your VAT receipt as usual. In some instances, you will receive your VAT receipt in your email address on file.

Key Takeaways

It should be noted that Brexit resulted in several changes to the UK's VAT rules. As such, businesses must adjust their accounting plans to accommodate these changes accordingly. AS a business owner, you should audit your sales exchanges and any regulatory processes.

In doing so, you can avoid sudden and unnecessary expenses. Do you require assistance in keeping track of your sales and services? Consider using FreshBooks and taking advantage of its many features. You can track time and increase your productivity, among many other beneficial features.

We invite you to head over to our Resource Hub, as well. There, you will find useful insights and helpful tips concerning running a small business in the UK.