An image Showing a Tax Invoice Format of VAT-Compliance

Tax Invoice Format

Table of Contents

Tax invoices play an important role for VAT registered businesses in the UAE. They are needed to claim valuable input tax credits. This guide explains all the key things you need to know about tax invoices in simple terms.

The main topics covered are:

Tax Invoice

A tax invoice is a special invoice that must be issued for transactions between VAT-registered businesses. It allows the recipient to claim input tax credits on supplies received. Tax invoices form the basis for VAT compliance in any country.

VAT (Value Added Tax)

VAT is a multi-stage consumption tax applied on the supply of most goods and services. In the UAE, it is charged at a standard rate of 5%. Understanding how VAT works and a taxpayer’s obligations, like issuing tax invoices, is important.


The UAE introduced VAT effective January 1,2018 at the federal level. As VAT laws in the UAE are relatively new, guides help local businesses understand and comply with their tax invoice obligations specified in the country’s VAT legislation.

Issuing tax invoices as per the UAE VAT Act ensures valid input tax claims. It also helps avoid penalties for non-compliance which can negatively impact cash flows. Therefore, having clarity on the tax invoice requirements is vital for businesses operating in the UAE.

This blog aims to break down the technicalities in a simple, easy to understand manner so readers fully grasp this important aspect of VAT compliance within the UAE context. Let me know if you need any part amplified further.

UAE VAT law states that certain minimum details must be included on all tax invoices. Let’s break this down:

Business information

The name, address, and tax registration number of the supplier must be clearly stated. This identifies who issued the invoice.

Invoice details

The date of issuance and a unique invoice number are required. The number helps identify the specific sale.

Supply information

Goods or services provided must be described along with applicable quantities. This provides purchase details.

Pricing information

The total value before VAT and applied VAT rate with total VAT charged need to be shown. This is important for VAT calculations.

Invoices must also be in Arabic or English and the currency stated in UAE Dirhams. Finally, it should be labeled as an “original” or “copy.” Meeting these legal standards ensures invoice validity.

Using a standard format helps present information consistently without errors. A recommended template looks like:

Supplier section

The supplier section at the top of the invoice is important to clearly identify who issued the tax invoice. This includes providing the supplier’s business name, official address on file with the FTA, and their VAT registration number.

Recipient section

The recipient section then identifies who the supply was made to by listing their name and address.

Invoice details section

The invoice details section captures key mandatory fields like a unique pre-printed invoice number and date of issuance. This helps trace the invoice if needed.

Order section

The order section allows referencing an existing purchase order or contract number for ease of reconciliation.

Item section

Moving down, the item section lists out each item supplied in detail. This must include an accurate description of the goods or services, applicable quantity or measure, unit price, and total price before VAT is applied.

VAT section

Coming to the VAT details, the exact VAT rate that has been charged is stated upfront. This is followed by the total VAT amount calculated on the supply value.

Payment section

Finally, the payment section specifies payment terms and captures the overall bill value inclusive of VAT.

Using this standardized template ensures all the mandatory fields are prominently displayed in a systematic manner. Including relevant additional fields also provides more context. Overall, it helps adhere to legal requirements and minimizes potential errors.

Common Tax Invoice Mistakes to Avoid

It’s important to steer clear of typical errors like:

  • Missing supplier or recipient details
  • Incorrect item descriptions or quantities
  • Mathematical errors in VAT calculation
  • Late or lack of issuing invoices on time
  • Insufficient invoice copies kept
  • Editing originals instead of using notes

Learning from these examples helps ensure compliance and valid invoices.


Following tax invoice guidelines properly is necessary for VAT compliance in the UAE. Using best practices like a standard format and learning from mistakes helps issue valid invoices and handle queries smoothly. Reach out for assistance with any other questions.


What are the main sections of a tax invoice?

Supplier information, buyer information, item details, tax amount, validation etc.

What identifying information is required?

Supplier name, address, tax registration number, buyer name and address etc.

How are item details captured?

Description, quantity, unit price, discount, tax rate and amount must be specified.

What validation methods are used?

Serial numbers, pre-printed paper, barcode/QR code, digital signatures etc.

Can a simplified invoice format be used?

Only below a certain transaction value. Standard format is otherwise mandatory.



Ms. Vibha Modi, CA, is supported by 13+ Years of Corporate Tax, International Taxation and Accounting Expertise.

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