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An invoice form is used as a receipt or bill, usually given from a seller to the buyer.

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Invoice: What Is It?

An invoice form is used as a receipt or bill, usually given from a seller to the buyer. This document services as a legal form that can list the products or services included as well as the required payment terms. Invoices can be used for purchasing products, buying certain services, or renting items. The information required for the invoice will differ, depending on whether it is a sales invoice, rental invoice, or purchase invoice.

An invoice template will have space for you to list the products or services that are being exchanged or delivered. The monetary amount for each listing should be included, as well as a total for all the products or services. The payment terms for the order should be on the invoice, including when payment must be received and how a payment can be made. An invoice can also indicate if the goods have already been paid for.

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The Ins and Outs of an Invoice

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a document issued to buyer by a seller, indicating the sale or rental of goods and/or services . Invoice components can vary by transaction. An invoice for products being delivered, for example, includes shipping details, while an invoice for services or non-delivered products does not. A rental invoice generally includes a section stating the duration(s) of rental period(s). You get the idea.

Invoices are usually heavily formatted documents. Rather than list things to include, I've drawn up a sample invoice, which is pictured below. Sections that are not self-explanatory are defined in the list that follows. Note: The sample invoice template includes sections for shipping information; however, this would not appear on every blank invoice template.





Ship To: (3)

Shipping Details: (4)

Bill Bazooka

Fake Resources Ltd.

265 Counterfeit Ave

Nowhereville, Confused State, ZIP


Bill Bazooka

Fake Resources Ltd.

265 Counterfeit Ave

Nowhereville, Confused State, ZIP


Freight Type: (5)

Est. Shipping Date:

Est. Gross Weight:

Est. Cubic Weight:

Total Packages:




Product Code

Description (5)


Unit Price (7)

Subtotal (8)

Tax (9)


Total (10)


Ornaments - Santa

























(1) Number, generally sequential, used to identify the invoice.

(2) Number, also usually sequential, used to track the order. Multiple invoice numbers are sometimes  assigned to a single order number, as some products, such as certain pharmaceuticals, legally require a separate invoice.

(3) This only needs to be included if products are being shipped. Be sure that you clarify who is receiving the order. If, for example, Bill Bazooka were buying these ornaments for his aunt and having them shipped directly to her, her address would be the one in this box.

(4) Again, this part is only necessary if products are shipped.

(5) Specify: land, air, or sea.

(6) Brief description of the product, allowing handlers to confirm that it is the correct item.

(7) Price per item, before any applicable tax.

(8) Total cost of all items on this line, before tax.

(9) Some US shippers do not include tax on invoices. In the case of interstate shipments, sales tax does not apply. However, there is a replacement for it known as a "use" tax, but the details of this vary state by state. Review your state's website for laws regarding tax on shipments.  If you don't include tax is on your invoice, leave out the subtotal and tax columns.

(10) Total cost of all items on that line, including any tax.

(11) Total sum owed by buyer.

(12) Terms of payment, meaning cash, credit, check, etc.

(13) Date by which payment is due. Write this date  VERY CLEARLY,  IN BOLD   IF YOU WISH, SO THAT THERE CAN BE NO CONFUSION.


Legal Considerations When Submitting an Invoice

In the world of business, an invoice is nothing more than a form used for billing, and most of us have seen one many times.  You might be in a situation right now in which you need to issue someone an invoice.  If you have supplied a product or rendered a service to a client or customer, then you will definitely want to submit this type of billing document, as it is the perfect way to let customers know what products or services you have provided, how much money they owe you, and how to remit payment to you.  Still, you might not have considered all of the legal implications involved—and there are, indeed, some things you'll want to keep in mind.

One major consideration is the importance of keeping a copy of the invoice form for yourself.  If you don't retain a copy before sending the document to the client, you're only asking for problems.  Believe me when I tell you that customers will sometimes misplace these forms, and if you don't have a backup copy in your records, you'll then need to jog your memory and try to recall exactly what you provided for the customer and how much he or she owed you.  Besides, keeping a copy of the billing form in your records will prove to be extremely helpful when taxpaying season arrives.

If you are sending a free invoice template, you should also take the accuracy of your information into consideration.  Errors on a billing form can be costly to your customers, but they can be even more costly to you and your business.  If you accidentally under-bill a customer, do you really think that he or she is going to let you know about it?  Chances are, an under-billed customer will either be unaware of the discrepancy or will grin and keep it a secret.  On the flip side, if you over-bill a customer, then you can expect an angry phone call or e-mail message at the very least.  Worse yet, you could might end up with a complaint to the Better Business Bureau or even legal action against you.  That's why you'll want to double-check your information each and every time.

invoice template

There is also the legal consideration of specificity when submitting a free invoice template.  The more specific and detailed your form is, the better.  From a legal standpoint, it will look much better if you include descriptions of all products or services provided, dates (and even the exact times, when feasible) in which they were provided, quantities in which they were provided, and the cost for each product or service down to the last penny.  Taking shortcuts might seem convenient when composing and submitting a billing document, but you'll regret it later on if there is a dispute and a threat of legal action.

Still another consideration is the quality of the document itself.  The last thing your business needs is a legal snafu resulting from a poorly constructed document.  If you can afford it, it's perfectly fine if you choose to have a professional printing company create an invoice form for you, though that's not the only possible solution.  Indeed, searching for templates on the worldwide web and modifying them to your specifications is a viable alternative.  Try conducting a search on the keywords "free invoice template" or "free invoice template form" on your favorite search engine; sort through the results carefully, and choose the best invoice form to suit your business's needs.

Considering the legal aspects might seem like a hassle when you're submitting an invoice.  However, a small investment of time and effort can prevent a great deal of trouble.  It's always worthwhile to educate yourself, so learn as much as possible, keep your invoices accurate, and do everything you can to avoid legal difficulties.

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