What Is an Advance Payment?

Advance payment Definition and Meaning

Being a basic prerequisite of safe online operations on the Internet, advance payment is still a closed book for many. This is a regular way of communication between the customer and service or product provider. And the main principle lies in the money paid before the deal is finished.

You might have encountered such a case, but it’s time to understand the issue better. If you want more information about how such payments work and what is included in the list of advance payment items, let’s proceed with the article. 

Definition of an Advance Payment

Advance Payment indicates a certain amount of money paid before a service or product is delivered to the final recipient. No additional payment is made after delivery if no other money obligation is owed. 

In a layman’s language, this is the money that you have to send before the item or service you ordered is shipped to you.

You can juxtapose this type of payment to the deferred type when the goods are shipped first, and then the payment goes. What are the peculiarities of such a payment method? How to manage it, and what to pay attention to? Let’s answer these questions.

Tax Types

When you decide to join the advanced type of paying for the products or services, you should beware of the fact that it applies to monthly tax returns. What does it mean? There are certain tax types to learn more about. 

  • You can deal with the Sales Tax on Meals. By the way, this is one of the most common tax types.
  • Sales and Use Tax are another major part of the policies to be aware of.
  • Room Occupancy Excise Tax together with the Sales Tax on Telecommunications stand for another huge section of taxes.

This is to be mentioned when you decide to commence the advance payment. 

Threshold for Making an Advance Payment

It might be a curious issue for poor-equipped users in terms of financial literacy. However, this is a simple aspect to discuss. First of all, the threshold is an annual parameter. 

And the taxpayers will need to face the requirements if only their cumulative tax liability surpasses $150.000 points. The threshold also depends on the line items that define whether you meet the requirement or don’t fall for it. 

Furthermore, if you deal with different tax types, the threshold, if there are any, is calculated for each type separately. However, there’s a difference if multiple tax types are a matter of vendor. 

Advance Payments Requirements

There are a couple of details you might want to know about. The following list contains the main requirements that the users are obliged to meet. If you decide to try and work with the advance payment, you should keep these requirements in mind.

  • The first important detail is the deadline. You can’t miss it and have to remember to cover the payment until the 25th of the month.
  • You might deal with different types of contracts. Nevertheless, these agreements are more or less standard. They should be read and checked before any signatures or deals.
  • It’s a rule of thumb to report on the line items that can be specified before payment.

It’s not the easiest task to manage. However, if you take a consequent approach and take everything gradually, you don’t need any difficulties. 

Penalties and Self-Assessment Worksheet

There are certain requirements and rules related to using advance payments. What happens if you don’t obey these rules? You get penalized, but it can be easily prevented. How? If you learn the penalties, you will find it easier to keep everything organized properly. 

First, the penalty is usually imposed on the amount of money you underpaid. You would get a 5% penalty if the payment wasn’t finished due to the needed date of the month. If you pay less than the tax liability requires, you will be able to ensure self-assessment and check what penalty is applied to your account.

Read Also: What Is an Advance Payment?

Importance of Advance Payments

Advance payment is important. But why? This is one of the major methods for communication between the client and a business. In general, a major perk makes advance payment type a leading one in the market. It offers guarantees to companies, both small and big businesses. 

The cases of nonpayment are often putting sellers in danger. For this reason, it’s always better to protect yourself with the help of prepaid operations. It covers the expenses in case there’s no activity from the buyer when the product or service is delivered.

Advanced Payments in Big Businesses

First of all, it’s worth mentioning that it’s in the interest of the large companies to protect themselves using prepaid transactions. There are companies that produce large tools, and pieces of machinery or even perform a full-scale manufacturing activity for the clients. 

Hence, losing money can mean huge losses for the company. For this reason, big businesses require to implement credit payments as a part of their delivery scheme. 

It works for most big companies encouraging buyers to pay in advance. What does it mean? Firstly, it clearly shows the client’s commitment and willingness to close the deal successfully. 

Another reason to require prepaid operations is to fund the projects partially. Bib businesses often need funds to invest in the project initially, and advance payments meet this need. 

Advanced Payments in a Startup

How do you build a small company? Funds and investments are important to build the company from the ground up. The same strategy is applied to projects of different scales. 

When there’s a buyer to order services or products from a startup, the prepaid feature is the only solution to cover the expenses for the work. And this is the main reason why this payment technique is of the greatest importance for small companies. 

Investors can contribute to the projects in the same way. A business needs to grow when the initial personal resources are limited. However, this is also a means of protection when an unscrupulous buyer is a client of a small firm. 

One way or another, this is a critical step that can’t be avoided and is even highly welcomed for startups. 


  • Safety for both parties, seller and buyer
  • Ability to gain funds and raise capital for business


  • Possible penalties
  • Many issues to consider

Risks with Advance Payment

Are there any risks related to advance payment? There seem to be few cons for the businesses. But there’s a huge negative point for the customers. 

When you are a client either of a big or small firm, advance payment isn’t something you would enjoy doing, especially if it’s a massive purchase. 

What does it mean, and what risks does it apply? Let’s explain it clearly.

When you order a product or service beforehand and pay for a part of it, a company can go bankrupt. In this case, reclaiming your money and getting a refund isn’t always possible. 

Nevertheless, paying in advance is common practice for many on the Internet, but there are still certain risks and doubts both for buyers and sellers. 

Read Also: Hardship Loans to Go Through Temporary Financial Troubles

How to Avoid Advance Payment Issues?

The most important thing is to research the company online, check what services it offers, and what values it follows in the work. If there are any terms or communication guidelines explained on the website, you should check them out before any deals are set. Otherwise, it might be a very bad idea for your wallet. 

There’s one proven way to help you feel safe about the deal within a credit helpline. 

You can set an agreement with the seller to prevent any refund issues from happening. This is a less common practice, though it still exists on the market to help subjects of the deal avoid misunderstandings. 

What Is an Advanced Payment Bond?

A bond, or a guarantee, is an obligation from the contractor’s side to refund the prepaid money in case the services failed to be presented or products failed to be delivered on time. 

If there are any issues related to the money a buyer lost, a bond serves as a guarantee in the form of a contract or agreement. 

This can prevent you as a buyer from money loss and help a seller manage technical issues in case anything happens. 

Why Bother Buying Payment Bonds?

Different situations might occur when the payment has already been introduced. In this case, the buyer is not in a stable and secure position unless a bond is bought. 

Why do you need to bother yourself buying a bond?

First of all, it’s about the safety you will obtain. Whatever happens to the seller or the product or service, you as a buyer will be safe and know that a clear refund procedure is possible. 

Furthermore, it’s important to know that a straightforward process is to happen. There will be no fuss about the refund cases when the bond is in the buyer’s hands. 

Who Should Buy Advanced Payment Surety Bonds?

A requirement refers both to the contractor and a buyer. From the contractor’s side, it’s critically important to purchase a bond to offer safe guarantees to the buyer. 

The payment process should be done this way if this prepaid operation is used. Nevertheless, the bond is a needful asset for both parties. A contractor is responsible for it in the first place. 

Bottom Line

You can now operate the term and know how to react to the cases when it’s needed or highly required. Credit payments are a way to protect the funds, get advance back, and guarantee safety for both parties, the seller and buyer. 

There are certain requirements to be obtained and penalties when these rules are neglected. If you mind your money as a buyer or want to fund your business and protect yourself from unscrupulous clients, there has to be an agreement. 

This is a prerequisite of a successful and long-standing deal between the parties. However, it has certain details that mean a lot to both parts of the deal, thus, beware.

Have you got any additional questions about the issues? There’s no need to look for the answers online if you can find them here. 

Sources Used in Research for the Article:

  1. Advance, Cornell Law School,
  2. Advance Payment Requirements, Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
  3. The Three Basic Tax Types, Tax Foundation,


What Is the Difference Between Prepayment and Advance Payment?

You know now what a payment in advance means – the coverage of purchase, either service or product, before the delivery. However, prepayment has a different nature. It’s an obligation to cover the debt or pay off any other expense.

How to Mention Advance Payment in Invoice?

There are a couple of ways you can introduce a payment into the invoice. It depends on the type of the tax, the amount, or some other details. In general, this type of prepaid operation is supposed to be seen as an asset in the invoice.

How to Write a Letter Asking for an Advance Payment?

The letter is a formal and standard type of massage. If you decide to ask for the service, you need to follow a specific guideline. Otherwise, it might not be considered a reasonable request for the company. The details for the correct letter writing should be checked personally.

Is an Advance Payment a Loan?

If we take into account the balance sheet, the speculation is represented as an asset. In short, this is a prepaid expense. In other words, it can be called a loan because you will be obliged to pay the money back, with no interest included.

What Is TT in Advance Payment?

The term is related to bank account transfer. It refers to the practice when the products or any type of items are collected and ready to be shipped only after the services are paid. It’s another regular practice for small and big businesses.