How to Invoice a US Client from the UK

Invoicing US Clients

As a UK-based consultant or contractor working with US clients, invoicing and managing your finances can be complex. At Optimise Accountants, we specialise in helping businesses navigate these challenges seamlessly whether you are starting out or an established business.

This easy guide to the most frequently asked questions we get asked provides essential information on how to invoice a US client from the UK, handle VAT on services from the UK to the USA, and determine the best way to get paid by US clients.

How to Invoice as a Consultant or Contractor to the US from the UK

Invoicing US clients requires a clear understanding of international invoicing practices and compliance with UK and US tax regulations. When preparing an invoice, ensure it includes:

Your business details (name, address, contact information)
Client details (name, address, contact information)
Invoice date and unique invoice number
Detailed description of services provided
Total amount due
Payment terms (due date, preferred payment method)

If you use a UK company to invoice US clients, include your company registration and VAT numbers (if applicable).

Can You Charge UK VAT on a USD Invoice?

One of the common questions we receive is whether you can charge UK VAT on an invoice to a US client. The answer depends on whether your client is an individual or a business.

Services Provided to US Businesses:

When providing services from the UK to a US business, these are generally considered outside the scope of UK VAT. This means you do not charge VAT on your invoice. However, it’s crucial to include a note on your invoice stating that the supply is outside the scope of UK VAT.

To qualify for this treatment, you must ensure that your US client is a business. They should provide proof of their business status, typically through a business certificate or other official documentation.

Services Provided to US Individuals:

The situation can be more complex if you provide services to US individuals (B2C transactions). Generally, services provided to non-business customers outside the EU are also outside the scope of UK VAT, and you do not charge VAT.

However, it’s essential to document the nature of your transaction clearly to avoid any potential issues with HMRC.

What Currency Should I Invoice In?

Deciding on the currency for invoicing is critical. You have two main options: invoicing in GBP or USD. Inviting your US client in USD simplifies the process and can avoid potential currency conversion issues.

Invoicing in GBP means you won’t bear the risk of currency fluctuations. At Optimise we can help you determine the best strategy based on your business needs and financial goals.

US Company Paid My Invoice from a UK Bank Account – Do I Need to Charge VAT?

If a US company pays your invoice from a UK bank account, you do not need to charge VAT as long as the services are provided to a business outside the UK. The location of the bank account used to make the payment does not affect the VAT treatment of your services.

Should I Use a UK Company to Invoice US Clients?

Using a UK company to invoice US clients can provide numerous benefits, including legal protection, potential tax advantages, and a professional business image.

However, it’s essential to consider the tax implications and administrative responsibilities. At Optimise Accountants, we can guide you through setting up and managing your UK company to ensure compliance and efficiency.

If I’m Paid in Dollars, How Do I Calculate Currency Conversion and Tax?

When you’re paid in USD, it’s crucial to record the currency conversion accurately. HMRC requires you to convert the foreign currency into GBP using the exchange rate on the date you received the payment.

For tax purposes, you must use the spot rate, which you can find on the HMRC website or from a reliable financial source. Optimise Accountants can assist you to maintain accurate records and ensuring compliance with HMRC regulations.

Should I Bill My US Client in GBP?

Billing your US client in GBP can simplify your accounting and protect you from currency fluctuations. However, it may be less convenient for your client and could delay payments. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons. Our team at Optimise Accountants can provide tailored advice based on your specific situation to help you make an informed decision.

How to invoice as a consultant or contractor to the US from the UK?

To invoice as a consultant or contractor to the US from the UK, include your business details, client details, invoice date, unique invoice number, service description, total amount due, and payment terms. Ensure compliance with international invoicing standards and include a note about the VAT status if applicable.

Can you charge UK VAT on a USD invoice?

Generally, no. Services provided from the UK to the USA are outside the scope of UK VAT, so you do not charge VAT. However, if invoicing a business, ensure they provide proof of their business status, such as a business certificate. For individuals, it’s also typically outside the scope of VAT, but proper documentation is essential.

What currency should I invoice in?

You can invoice in either GBP or USD. Invoicing in USD simplifies the process for your US client, while invoicing in GBP protects you from currency fluctuations. Consider your business needs and consult with Optimise Accountants for personalised advice.

US company paid my invoice from a UK bank account – do I need to charge VAT?

No, as long as the services are provided to a business outside the UK, the payment method does not affect the VAT treatment. You do not need to charge VAT.

Should I use a UK company to invoice US clients?

Yes, using a UK company can provide legal protection, tax advantages, and a professional business image. However, consider the tax implications and administrative responsibilities. We can help you with this to manage your UK company efficiently.

How do I calculate currency conversion and tax if I’m paid in dollars?

Convert the USD amount to GBP using the exchange rate on the payment date. Use the spot rate from a reliable source, such as the HMRC website. Optimise Accountants can help you to maintain accurate records and ensure compliance.

Should I bill my US client in GBP?

Billing in GBP can simplify your accounting but may be less convenient for your client. Consider the pros and cons and consult with Optimise Accountants for tailored advice.

Important Tax Deadlines and Essential Forms

Understanding key tax dates and the required forms is crucial for maintaining compliance and avoiding penalties.

Key Dates:

Quarterly VAT Returns: These are usually due one month and seven days after the end of the VAT quarter.

Corporation Tax Returns: Due 12 months after the end of the accounting period.

Self-Assessment Tax Returns: Due by January 31st for the previous tax year.

Key Forms:

VAT Returns (VAT100): Used to report your VAT for the quarter.

Corporation Tax Return (CT600): Used to report your company’s profits and tax due.

Self-Assessment Tax Return (SA100): Used to report personal income and tax due.

How We Can Help You

Optimise Accountants specialises in helping UK-based consultants and contractors manage their international invoicing and tax obligations. Our services include:

  • Invoicing Guidance: Ensuring compliance with international invoicing standards.
  • VAT Advice: Clarifying VAT obligations and exemptions.
  • Currency Conversion Assistance: Accurate recording and conversion of foreign currency payments.
  • Tax Compliance: Helping you meet all tax filing requirements and deadlines.
  • Company Setup and Management: Assisting with the setup and administration of UK companies.

Call us today 0115 939 4606 and learn how we can help your business invoice US clients and manage your international financial obligations.

Alternatively book a one-to-one personalised US tax consultation with Simon Misiewicz 

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