Although the European VIES database is the main tool used by businesses in the EU to check VAT identification numbers, the information contained in the database is not always up-to-date or complete. Many businesses prefer to use their national portals to obtain more reliable information. For example, in Germany, businesses check VAT numbers using the "USt-IdNr-Prüfung" service provided by the Federal Central Tax Office of Germany (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern). However, overall, the VIES database is widely recognized as a reliable source for checking VAT identification numbers in the EU, and businesses are recommended to use it whenever possible.
Check European VAT Numbers
In the EU, businesses and individuals who engage in B2B transactions are required to check the VAT number of their customers, suppliers or partners before conducting a transaction. This is to ensure that VAT is paid correctly on cross-border transactions within the EU and to prevent VAT fraud. On this page you find an online VAT checker for European and UK numbers.
What is VAT Number?
A VAT (Value-Added Tax) number is a unique identifier assigned to businesses and organizations operating within Europe and the United Kingdom for the purpose of collecting and reporting VAT. It is used to track and verify the payment of VAT on goods and services, and to facilitate cross-border transactions within the EU. The VAT number is required for companies that engage in B2B transactions and is used as proof of VAT registration.
VAT Number Format
The format of a VAT number in the EU consists of two letters that indicate the country code, followed by up to 12 characters that identify the taxpayer. For example, a VAT number in the UK starts with “GB” and a VAT number in Germany starts with “DE”. The exact format and length of the VAT number can vary depending on the country, but it is usually a combination of letters and numbers. Some VAT numbers may contain only numbers, while others may contain a combination of letters and numbers, depending on the country’s VAT reg system.
For example, a VAT number for a business in Germany would look like this: DE999999999.
How to check if a VAT number is valid?
There are several ways to VAT number check:
- VIES (VAT Information Exchange System) – This is an online system provided by the European Commission that allows you to verify the validity of a VAT number in real-time by checking it against the database of VAT numbers of EU member states.
- National VAT number validation services – Some EU countries have their own national VAT number validation services.
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – the UK’s tax authority, to verify the validity of a VAT number.
Note: A VAT number does not guarantee the authenticity of a company, but it can be a useful tool for verifying that a company is VAT registered and operating within the EU or the UK.
On this page you will find the VAT code checker from Lovat. Only relevant information is presented here, which is generated after sending the request. This is much more convenient than searching on your own through VIES and HMRC.
What is VIES?
VIES stands for VAT Information Exchange System. It is an online system provided by the European Commission that allows businesses and individuals to verify the validity of a VAT number in real-time. The system is used to check VAT numbers issued by any EU member state against the database of VAT numbers held by the EU member state in which the company is based.
The VIES system allows businesses and individuals to check the VAT number of their customers, suppliers or partners before conducting a transaction, ensuring that the VAT number is valid and up-to-date. This helps to prevent VAT fraud and ensures that VAT is paid correctly on cross-border transactions within the EU.
VIES is a free service and can be accessed online. Simply enter the VAT number you wish to verify on the VIES website, and it will VAT registration number check against the database held by the European Commission.
The names of the VAT numbers vary from country to country
Name of VAT numbers of different countries
|Country||Country code||VAT in national language|
|Austria||AT||Umsatzsteuer – Identifikationsnummer|
|Belgium||BE||Le numéro d’identification ą la taxe sur la valeur ajoutée BTW – identificatienummer|
|Bulgaria||BG||Идентификационен номер по ДДС|
|Cyprus||CY||Αριθμός Εγγραφής Φ.Π.Α.; Arithmos Egrafis FPA|
|Czech Republic||CZ||Danové identifikacnķ cķslo (DIC)|
|Germany||DE||Umsatzsteuer – Identifikationsnummer|
|Estonia||EE||Käibemaksukohustuslasena registreerimise number|
|Greece||GR||Αριθμός Φορολογικού Μητρώου ΦΠΑ; Arithmos Forologikou Mitroou FPA|
|Spain||ES||El nśmero de identificación a efectos del Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido|
|Finland||FI||Arvonlisćverorekisterõintinumero; Mervärdesskatteregistreringsnummer (momsregistreringsnummer)|
|France||FR||Le numéro d’identification ą la taxe sur la valeur ajoutée|
|UK||GB||Value added tax (VAT) registration no|
|Croatia||HR||PDV identifikacija broj|
|Ireland||IE||Value added tax identification no|
|Italy||IT||Il numero di registrazione IVA|
|Lithuania||LT||PVM mokėtojo kodas|
|Luxembourg||LU||Le numéro d’identification ą la taxe sur la valeur ajoutée|
|Latvia||LV||Pievienotas vertibas nodokla (PVN) registracijas numurs|
|Malta||MT||Numru ta’ l-identifikazzjoni tat-taxxa fuq il-valur miśjud; value added tax identification number|
|Netherlands||NL||BTW – identificatienummer|
|Poland||PL||Numer identyfikacyjny VAT|
|Portugal||PT||O nśmero de identificaēćo para efeitos do imposto sobre o valor acrescentado|
|Romania||RO||Cod de īnregistrare īn scopuri de TVA|
|Slovenia||SI||Identifikacijska številka za DDV|
|Slovakia||SK||Identifikacné cķslo pre dan (IC DPH)|
Frequently asked questions
The VAT number is not showing up in the VIES database. Does that mean it's not valid?
We are a company registered in Italy, we want to sell our goods to a wholesale buyer from the UK . The buyer wants to export goods from the EU to the UK. Do we need to check his VAT number to issue a reverse charge invoice?
No, if your buyer exports goods from the EU, you do not need to check the validity of the VAT number. Only sales between EU states need to be checked. If your buyer exports goods outside the EU, you must invoice him with 0% VAT as an export. The confirmation in this case will be the customs declaration, not the VAT number.
My company is a software development service provider. We are established in Slovakia. Our business customer is in Canada. How can we check their VAT number so we can issue them a reverse charge invoice?
Since your client is registered outside the EU, you do not need to check if they are registered for VAT. The place of supply of services for VAT purposes is where your buyer is located, regardless of whether this company has a VAT number or not. So you need to issue an invoice without Slovak VAT.