Rechnungen: How to write the first invoice for your business in Germany

Ready to create your debut invoice? Discover all you need to know, including essential tips and a downloadable template.



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Understanding the basics

Before diving into the specifics, let’s cover the basics of an invoice and why it’s crucial for your business. A Rechnung (invoice) in German, is a document that details a transaction between a seller and a buyer. It includes essential information such as the products or services provided, their costs, payment terms, and more.

Mandatory information

In Germany, specific information is required on every invoice to make it legally valid. Here’s what you need to include:

  • Sender
    Your full name and address
  • Empfänger
    The recipient’s full name and address
  • Rechnungsnummer
    An invoice number
  • Rechnungsdatum
    The invoice date
  • Leistungsbeschreibung
    A clear description of the products or services provided
  • Menge und Einzelpreis
    The quantity and unit price of each item
  • Gesamtbetrag
    The total amount to be paid
  • Mehrwertsteuer
    VAT information, if applicable
  • Bankverbindung
    Your bank details for payment

Mehrwertsteuer: What is the VAT rate in Germany?

Most goods and services in Germany are subject to Mehrwertsteuer (value-added tax) – also known as Umsatzsteuer.

The standard rate is 19%, and a reduced rate of 7% applies to specific items.

You must include VAT on your invoices if your business is registered for VAT.

Creating your first invoice

Now that you know what information to include, it’s time to create your invoice.

To simplify the process, you can use invoicing software or templates available online. Just input the required information accurately and clearly.

Sending invoices

Once your invoice is ready, please send it to your customer promptly. You can do this via email or traditional mail, depending on your preference and the customer’s requirements.

Don’t forget to follow up on the payment if it’s not made by the due date.

Record keeping

It’s essential to keep records of all your invoices for tax purposes. In Germany, businesses must retain records for at least ten years, so ensure you store them securely.


Writing your first invoice in Germany doesn’t have to be daunting. You can create professional invoices that comply with regulations by understanding the basics, including mandatory information, and using the right tools.

If you’re unsure about anything, ask your accountant or tax adviser.

Download the template

For a template that incorporates the best practices in this guide, download our PDF here.

That’s it! You’re now equipped to write your first invoice in Germany confidently. Good luck!

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