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Is my customer VAT registered?

Question

How do I check if a supplier or customer is VAT registered and giving me their correct VAT number?

Answer

VAT registration numbers can be easily validated by the online checker on the EUROPA website or type VIES into any search engine and follow the links on the VIES – EU Commission website “Check a VAT number.”

This site can be used to validate any VAT number in any EU country and UK entries are updated every night so new registrations should be available for viewing 24 hours after they have been issued.

There are only 4 boxes to complete.

      1. Member State – The first box asks for the Member State, select the dropdown menu to see all 28 Member States of the EU. Select GB for validating a number issued by HMRC
      2. VAT Number – Enter the VAT number you are wanting to validate.
      3. Requester Member State.
      4. Requester VAT number.

These last 2 boxes are optional but if you are looking for confirmation this check has been performed, by completing these boxes with your own Member State and VAT number before clicking on the ‘Verify’ button you will be given a unique reference number to add to your due diligence records.

Most UK VAT registered business when applying for a UK VAT number agree to allow their business name and address to be displayed, this is very useful indeed. Unfortunately, many European business opt out of this and for some foreign business’s you will only get a reply saying if the number is valid or not. However, it is an EU requirement that all websites must display their VAT registration numbers so if you get the valid message only I would recommend you go online to the business’s website and find a page showing their VAT number and address and retain a copy for completeness of your records.

Annette Woods – Vantage Fee Protect Tax Consultant

23 April 2018

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