How to read and understand a Dutch invoice

How to read and understand a Dutch invoice

If you own or work at a company that is operating internationally, you might at some point get a Dutch invoice on your desk. You might need to approve the invoice, compare it to a purchase order or make a payment to the supplier. Because the Netherlands is such a small country, hardly anyone can read or speak Dutch outside of the Netherlands. That can make it hard to understand Dutch invoices. Luckily, we at Klippa process loads and loads of Dutch invoices using OCR every year. In the blog we will be explaining where you can find the right information to read and understand invoices from the Netherlands. 

Legal requirements for Dutch invoices

An invoice from the Netherlands has certain requirements with regards to the content of the invoice. It should at least contain the buyer and seller details, purchase date, total amount, VAT details and the line items. If the line items have different VAT percentages, the appropriate VAtT details have to be listed for every purchase line. Besides the obligated fields, there can be many additional details on an invoice. A few examples are pay before date, delivery date, subtotal amounts, payment method, order number, customer number, chamber of commerce number and VAT number.

Dutch invoice explained

In the image below, we have taken one of our own purchase invoices and marked it with all the relevant information for processing an invoice from Holland. Its a Dutch invoice from a fruit delivery company. We have also listed an overview of the important fields and how they are called in Dutch so it will be easier for you to find the right fields:

  1. The seller is usually listed as ‘Winkel’ or ‘Verkoper’ in Dutch.
  2. The date is usually listed as ‘Datum’, ‘Factuurdatum’, ‘Leverdatum’, ‘Aankoopdatum’ or ‘Verkoopdatum’ in Dutch.
  3. Line items are the specific products that were purchased. Usually you will find them under ‘betreft’ in a table structure. 
  4. Total amount is usually listed as ‘Totaal’ or ‘Totaalbedrag’ in Dutch. Sometimes it will be listed as ‘Totaalbedrag inclusief BTW’, which means total amount including VAT. ‘Totaalbedrag exclusief BTW’ is the amount excluding the VAT. In general the total amount should be including VAT, unless listed otherwise. 
  5. VAT is usually listed as ‘BTW’ or ‘Belasting’. In the Netherlands 9% VAT is used for most food related products and it is sometimes referred to as ‘BTW laag’. The 21% VAT is used for services and most non-food products. It can be referred to as ‘BTW hoog’. In rare occasions you will also see 0% VAT. Most invoices will fall in the 21% category. 
  6. VAT number is listed as ‘BTW-nummer’ and is a string similar to NL112221122B01
  7. Chamber of commerce number is listed as ‘KVK’ or ‘Kamer van Koophandel’ and is a string of numbers like 64111512
Reading and understanding Dutch invoices

What Klippa does

Klippa specializes in automated document processing solutions for companies all over the world. We digitise and analyse documents to extract the specific data required for a use case. This prevents manual labor, reduces cost and increases the processing speed. Do you have large amounts of (Dutch) receipts, invoices or other documents that need to be processed? Give us a call, we can definitely help you out via our out of the box solutions like invoice processing or our OCR API.

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