How long can you go without invoicing for a bill?

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How long can you go without invoicing for a bill?

Can you bill a client for work you did a year ago if suddenly you now realize you never sent them a bill?

Asked on September 12, 2016 under Business Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can still enforceably invoice them--i.e. invoice them in such a way that, if they don't pay, you could sue them if necessary--so long as you leave enough time to file a lawsuit. There is no specific time period under the law within which you must invoice; the sole issue is whether you can "back up" the invoice with legal action at need, and that depends on whether you are still within the "statute of limitations," or time to sue.
In your state (these statutes vary by state, and also by underlying claim or cause of action), you can file a lawsuit based on an oral (unwritten) agreement to do work for pay up to three years after conclusion of the work; and if you had a written contract, you can file a lawsuit for payment up to five years later. So at a year past when the work was done, you are still well within time to invoice them and then, if necessary, sue.
(You can send an invoice even after the statute of limitations has expired or passed; but at that point, since you can't sue, it's purely voluntary on their part whether to pay or not.)


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