Invoices and VAT/Tax


I have seen a few people in the forum mention about invoices and VAT for UK companies. I really want to use the automatic billing option whereby the client pays themselves and we pocket the difference however there are a few problems which I am sure must be common to a lot of companies using this system:

- The 'Invoice' that get sent to the client after they have paid and sent does not account for VAT 15%?
- As a company we will need to invoice the client for the service but they have recieved one already via email which has nothing to do with us?

The simplest way i can see of solving this is to be able to perhaps turn off or customise the invoice email that automatically goes to a client?

Has anybody else run into this? Do Campaign Monitor have any ideas how to deal with these type of situations?

Many Thanks


urbanelement, 8 years ago

Was hoping someone from campaign monitor might be able to shed some light on this as it seems to be a common problem and the 'invoices' that customers arent actually the invoice we would want to give to a client.

Surely an option to stop these going to a client by default would be an easy option or even just a change of language in the email 'invoice' tp be 'Confirmation of charge' as it is not the invoice that our client would need to keep for there records an is misleading.

Hopefully someone from Campaign Monitor will have some thoughts on it?  It is certainly stopping us as a business using this option.


Dave Dave, 8 years ago

Hey Malcolm, sorry for the lack of response, we're definitely listening about this, and realise that a few tweaks will be required to get the invoicing perfect for every region. Would you might giving us your wish list of exactly how the functionality needs to work. What should be in the invoice, how should we approach the VAT charge, etc.

urbanelement, 8 years ago

Hi Dave

Thanks for the response. I'm not the best with accounting and numbers etc but from my point of view the following would be some options:

* Admin can enter tax rate themselves (UK has just changed from 17.5% to 15%)

* The client when sending the campaign then should be made aware that they are being charged £xx +Vat (15%)

* It would be good if admin could either switch off 'invoices automatically going to clients, as the word invoice is misleading. If it said 'Reciept' or 'Confirmation' it would be more appropriate I think rather than invoice otherwise people might try and keep this for their records and it shows no VAT etc.

* Perhaps admin could even have a customisable message that could go on the reciept, I would for example says that 'This email is just a reciept to say that your CC has been charged, an invoice for your records will be sent out by post shortly'.(or perhaps even more cusomisable such as logo and company details etc and perhaps overkill but to upload my invoice template completely then i wouldnt have to send manually after).

I hope this makes sense and helps., These are only from my point of view and I appreciate you have to make a system that everyone can use. I think if there was the customisation of the reciept/invoice or even just the ability to switch it off then it would help some people.



mentine, 8 years ago

we have the same problem here in Italy, we need a more detailed invoice (and have a 20% VAT to calculate). Do you plan to implement something shortly? Otherwise, we will not be able to use CM, and that's really a pity!

Thanks - Nicola

Dave Dave, 8 years ago

Hey guys, thanks for the follow up. This is something we will be looking into, but if it's a deal breaker in the mean time, you can always change your billing options to pay on your clients behalf, and then handle the invoicing yourself. that should get you by until we have a fix in place.

smallfurrycreature, 8 years ago

Hello all,

It's great CM is actually taking our feedback and considering it, much better than some companies!

I've just found this post and thought I'd make a comment as we've been going through the exact same questions as 'urbanelement' and thought the community could benefit from our findings.

Firstly, Dave is absolutely correct that the simplest way to do this for us EU members (I'm in the UK), is to pay CM ourselves (paying no VAT) and then billing the clients directly ourselves, charging VAT as we would any other service we outsource.
However using the API you can create a record of all the campaigns sent by each account and set up your own billing system off the back of that, or plug it into your CRM/project management software.

As a UK company who is registered for VAT, if you wish CM to bill your clients directly you should take note of Public Notice 741, section 11 from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (download from Failing that call the HMRC helpline on 0845 010 9000.
After reading the notice there are one or two things I am trying to clear up myself, such as whether or not the supply of CM's services is classed as from the EC or not, as both ourselves and our clients are in the EC but CM is not. I am awaiting a ruling on this from them and I will make a posting here when I have the response!

I hope this is useful to all UK (and EC) companies, watch this space!

- Small Furry Creature

davejacko davejacko, 8 years ago

We really need this feature in Ireland, it would boost the reselling of CM in a big way and cut out lots of admin work for us. In Ireland the VAT rate is currently 21.5%

Any updates on the progress of this being implemented?

Dave in Mad Dog Digital

davejacko davejacko, 8 years ago

One more point, if we are doing business with a company based in Ireland the VAT rate is 21.5% but if we do business with anyone outside of Ireland it will be 0% so we'd need the flexibility to charge at both rates. Vat rates also change every few years, recently the government changed the rate from 21 - 21.5% so we'd need to be able to change the rate.


tshannon tshannon, 8 years ago

Surely as the funds are being collected directly by CM, the user is contracting with CM. If you generate an invoice with VAT on it, then you have to pay that to the VAT man. So if a client spends £115 on mailouts, even if you have no markup, you have to cough up £15 to the tax man.

Kris, 8 years ago

In Belgium:
- VAT number is REQUIRED when sending an invoice to a business
- VAT number is NOT REQUIRED when sending an invoice to a consumer
- VAT percentage is 21% but doesn't have to be charged when the invoice clearly states VAT has to be paid by the client itself (for more about this, just send me a message)

If CM sends an invoice to our clients directly, this would cause confusing an discussions with their tax office. So we bill our clients with a correct invoice and CM sends us an invoice for the campaign.

Just one remark to CM: please let us fill in our VAT number in our profile and send invoices mentioning this number. Right now we have to send e-mails, you do manual magic, you send e-mail back, .... sooooo not 2009!


Dave Dave, 8 years ago

Thanks for the follow up guys, our aim is to make things easier for you, not harder. We've got some more highly requested features we're working on right now, but this is something we'll be considering.

tshannon tshannon, 8 years ago

Just had a long chat with our accountant, his opinion is that because the site is white labeled the client is contracting with us and not CM, which means if we get audited they will demand the VAT for the payments that we've charged to our clients, even though we haven't collected VAT.

This means we will could get landed with a massive tax bill, fines, and have to embarrasingly go back to our clients and ask the to pay the tax on all the transactions that they've already put through!

You really need to find an answer for this CM!

Our suggestion is that you give us the option of displaying your details on the payment form and invoices, which means the client is contracting directly with you. Then no VAT is payable, this would also work with many other countries and get around all the complex tax law in each.

tobystokes, 8 years ago

It's been a while since I discussed this with my accountant, but we reasoned the following:
The service was supplied CM directly to the client (because CM invoiced them directly, regardless of the logo on the website). CM don't need to charge VAT, as they are outside of EU.
I don't create invoices for CM to account for the money they send me - I mark it as 'subscription income'

If I do pay for a client on their behalf, I mark it on their invoice as a disbursement, which means as long as I charge them exactly what I was charged, again there is no need to add VAT

There is lots more information at

tshannon tshannon, 8 years ago

Thanks Toby, that's pretty much the sort of conclusion I was coming to. Just means we need to come clean with the client that it's not actually our site and they're effectively contracting with someone else.

Stig Stig, 8 years ago

Hi guys, thanks for looking into this, that's very helpful for us. We'll take this into consideration when looking at ways to improve the invoices. But like Dave said, handling the invoices yourself might be an option for some of you in the meantime, to avoid any tax problems.


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tobystokes, 8 years ago

Just had a chat with our accountant, and as he sees it, as income from CM is VAT exempt, it does not need to be accounted for in either the '6 total value of sales' or '9 total value of acquisitions from outside EU'.

So the current system of CM invoicing clients directly, and UK Ltds receiving tax exempt income is fine.

Having said that, I have had clients asking whether CM invoices include VAT, so I think there is still some room for clarification on that invoice.

Stef, 8 years ago
Kris :

In Belgium:

If CM sends an invoice to our clients directly, this would cause confusing an discussions with their tax office. So we bill our clients with a correct invoice and CM sends us an invoice for the campaign.

Just one remark to CM: please let us fill in our VAT number in our profile and send invoices mentioning this number. Right now we have to send e-mails, you do manual magic, you send e-mail back, .... sooooo not 2009!

Hi Kris or others,

we will also send our clients ourselves a correct invoice, and buy credits ourselves from CM for wich we will receive their invoices. According to Belgian (and other countries) tax law a correct invoice (from CM to us) needs to have our VAT-number on it (next to company name, address, date,...).

Can you confirm that you've been able to get correct invoices from CM with your VAT-number on it?


Kris, 8 years ago

Hi Stefan,

Getting a correct invoive (including VAT nr) still has to be done by mailing the original invoice back to CM. They will alter the invoice and send it back.

No automatic way to get things done "right first time" as far as I know.


foamcow, 8 years ago

We just had a quick chat about this in the office and reached the conclusion that, at the very least, the "Invoices" (which we think are more like receipts) should carry either your company details or ours (as the reseller).

If you look at invoices/receipts from other online services such as iStockphoto they contain a lot more information.

cloud123, 7 years ago

I personally think CM are being careless by not making sure the billing section is covered in depth. After all there are a lot of agencies using CM to turn a profit. If there is fear the tax or vat man may come knocking asking questions then all tax/vat issues should be covered.

I understand there will be lots of other features pulling the CM team away but at the very least there should be a solid FAQ section which covers questions of tax/vat. At the very least i think CM should get in touch with a reputable accountant in the UK (and other countries) and ask them for their advice, then post the advice on the main CM website for easy access.I'm not asking for masses of feature updates, but some advice that is more than a few paragraphs long would be nice!

Just my thoughts anyway.

Dave Dave, 7 years ago

Cloud123, thanks for your thoughts. We're not far off launching a handy billing update that will make it much easier for you to customize invoices to suit the requirements of your region. We'll be announcing this on the blog when it's available.

pav pav, 7 years ago

Just come across the problems outlined above for the UK tax system.  Wondering how the handy billing update is coming?  Bills for clients in November 09 were still ex VAT.

I agree that the issue concerning the country of origin is important and don't have the answer, but if the bill is from ourselves, it needs to show...

The net amount charged to the client, in £'s
The amount of VAT to be charged (we must be able to set the rate as it's just changed)
The gross amount (net + VAT)
... and our logo would be good.

If the bill is from C/SEND then it needs to show a non EU address and explain why VAT is not applicable.  This will compromise the whitelabel story though, and wouldn't be ideal.

For now I'm going to turn off clients own payments (shame - it's a good idea but incomplete)

Tommy, 7 years ago


Any news on the specific update regarding VAT/billing. Dave said 6 months ago it was close impending ?

Diana Diana, 7 years ago

Hi Tommy,

We released some changes to invoicing a while ago (the ones Dave was alluding to). You can now add on things like street addresses, VAT numbers, etc to client invoices and your own by editing account settings. You can read about that here.

It's not a perfect solution for every situation though and in some cases it still makes the most sense for you to bill your clients yourself in order to deal with any VAT that needs to be charges and invoice them separately.

D. Potter
Campaign Monitor
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