10 May 2024 3 min read

Service recipient and invoice recipient: What is the difference?

In this article, we explain two important types of recipients: the service recipient and the invoice recipient, their definitions, differences, and their significance in corporate accounting.


We increasingly see companies encountering complex customer requirements when issuing invoices. This often occurs in customer relationships with homeowners' associations or large estates. In this article, we explore these two recipient types, their definitions, differences, and their significance in corporate accounting.

Precise definitions and clear distinctions are crucial in the VAT and sales tax law. The terms "invoice recipient" and "service recipient" are particularly important in the issuance and processing of invoices. For accountants, accurately identifying invoice recipients and service recipients is vital to comply with legal regulations concerning invoices and services. A detailed understanding of these terms ensures smooth bookkeeping and helps prevent errors that often have legal consequences.

Service recipient (beneficiary)

The service recipient is the party that utilizes the provided service or received goods. This could be an individual, a business, or an organization that has entered into a service contract, purchase agreement, or another form of arrangement. The service recipient has the right to the provided service and is typically obligated to cover the associated costs. Regarding invoices, the service recipient is especially important because their name and address must be listed to ensure proper billing and tax compliance.

Invoice recipient

The invoice recipient is the natural or legal person receiving an invoice, and is required to pay for the economic transactions or provided services. The invoice recipient does not necessarily have to be the same as the service recipient. They are responsible for settling the invoice and usually handle it for accounting purposes. The invoice recipient could be the end customer, an intermediary, a business unit, or a central accounting department of a company.

What's the difference?

The primary differences between invoice recipients and service recipients lie in their roles and legal claims. The service recipient receives the service and has a legal claim to its provision, while the invoice recipient receives the invoice and is often responsible for accounting processing.

It's important to note that the service recipient must be specified on the invoice if the customer wishes to claim a tax deduction. The invoice recipient doesn't necessarily need to be listed directly on the invoice, as long as the information is on the envelope or the invoice is sent electronically.

How can software help?

A clear distinction between invoice recipients and service recipients is essential for accountants. To ensure that your invoices are legally compliant, we recommend software that automatically generates invoices and can record all the information for both invoice and service recipients. Mainteny can assist you: Service recipients are directly associated with the customer and the relevant unit. This saves time and prevents errors.

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