They may be required to make an additional registration for EU cross-border transactions. If the mathematical check works out it only shows that the VAT number is valid, not that it is proper to the business quoting it or that it has not been de-registered You can check an EU VAT number including the UK on-line http: There are different methods of checking that a VAT number is correct. Invalid response If the system returns an invalid status it means that the VAT number you are trying to validate is not registered in the relevant national database. The VIES will also prove useful if you undertake zero-rate transactions with other EU businesses — as one of the conditions of zero-rating is that your clients or customers must be VAT registered. Unfortunately, HMRC will only tell you whether that number belongs to the trader whose name and address have been quoted. What to do if a VAT registration number is not valid? Therefore, verifying the VAT number is essential. By doing this, you can prove that you have acted in good faith if ever your dealings with a VAT-registered business is questioned by HMRC. You then simply select from the drop-down menu, the country where the business is located, and then enter the VAT registration number you want to check. Verifying the VAT number of any businesses that your business is in contact with should be an initial move. This procedure varies between EU countries. These changes are not always reflected immediately in the national databases and consequently in VIES.
They may be required to make an additional registration for EU cross-border transactions. If it is a valid VAT registration number, the VIES website will confirm this and give you the name and registered office of the business. Examples of how the mathematical checks work can be found at: This does not include the GB which is sometimes stated at the beginning. You are able to print out or save the search results, and if need be you can use the proof to let HMRC know that the VAT number in question was registered at the time. If your customer claims that they are registered for VAT — but the verification through VIES does not confirm this — they can request verification with the tax office in their country. Invalid response If the system returns an invalid status it means that the VAT number you are trying to validate is not registered in the relevant national database. If the mathematical check works out it only shows that the VAT number is valid, not that it is proper to the business quoting it or that it has not been de-registered You can check an EU VAT number including the UK on-line http: This can leave you with having to deal with pile of paperwork and no money back for the VAT. Keep proof of your search If you need to keep proof of your search, then the website also allows you to do so. Keep a record of the checks you have made and take a screen print of the EU website showing that the VAT number was valid at the time that you checked it if HMRC queries it. These changes are not always reflected immediately in the national databases and consequently in VIES. The Data Protection Act stops them giving information about another trader. Requesting additional information If you cannot find the information on VIES you should request more information at national level with your national authorities. The EU data base is only updated monthly so including delays in the local Member States tax authorities the data could be 6 — 8 weeks out-of-date. You should then be able to confirm: You should check the validity of your customer's VAT registration number on a regular basis, to ensure that the number has not been deregistered. You can check which country has an online system to check for VAT registrations below: This method is simple and all you have to do is fill in a short form online. For urgent matters, we advise you to contact your local tax administration. To confirm that both the number is valid and that it belongs to the trader quoting it, ring the VAT Helpline. The first 7 digits are random numbers and the last 2 digits are based on a formula using the first 7 numbers. Unfortunately, HMRC will only tell you whether that number belongs to the trader whose name and address have been quoted. What is a VAT number? Keep a copy of your search Once you have checked a VAT number you can then print out or save the results of the search to prove to HMRC that the VAT number in question was valid at the time of your search. There are different methods of checking that a VAT number is correct.
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