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Dealing with an unpaid invoice

It is important to make sure you have invoiced correctly to ensure prompt payment.

Check your invoice

Before you send an invoice, you should double-check you have included everything, and that the details match the order and delivery receipt.

Your customer might not tell you there is something wrong with your invoice, and you will only find out when you do not receive a payment. It’s worth finding a contact in the accounts area that can let you know what information they need to process your invoice. This contact can also let you know when your invoice has been received and accepted.

What to include

Our Payment Times and Practices Inquiry found that it is important for small businesses to understand what their customers need to make a payment. Not only must the details be correct, it must also be sent to the correct section within your customer's business. Using electronic invoices can reduce errors, resulting in prompt payment.

According to the Australian Taxation Office, tax invoices must include at least seven pieces of information to clearly determine:

  1. that the document is intended to be a tax invoice
  2. the seller's identity
  3. the seller's Australian business number (ABN)
  4. the date the invoice was issued
  5. a brief description of the items sold, including the quantity (if applicable) and the price
  6. the GST amount (if any) payable
  7. the GST amount for each item, or clearly state that the total price includes GST.

There may be additional requirements for invoices depending on the type of sale. Find out more about issuing tax invoices.

Examples to download

Tax invoice for a sale under $1,000

Tax invoice for a sale over $1,000

Chase an invoice

Once you have checked your invoice was accurate and received, you can chase payment.

It can be useful to set up a timeline for monitoring payments. Here is an example of steps you can take to chase a payment:

Find out more about chasing unpaid invoices.

Take further action

If chasing payment hasn’t worked, it is time to consider your next step.

If you are ready to take further action, but you are unsure who to turn to for help, try our Dispute Support tool.

Dispute Support is an online referral tool to help businesses find the most appropriate low cost dispute resolution services to help resolve business disputes.

Follow these steps to find an appropriate service:

  • Step 1: Choose ‘Recovering unpaid invoices’
  • Step 2: Choose your state or territory
  • Step 3: Is your business in the building and construction sector? Y/N

Still need help?

If you still need help, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Information Line may be able to help you identify the most appropriate service to resolve your dispute.

You can contact the Information Line on 1300 650 460. Alternatively you can lodge a dispute and a case management officer will be in contact with you shortly.