VAT-ID Check –
All important information
for EU merchants
For deliveries and services to a company from another EU member state, the valid VAT-ID of both companies must be stated on the invoice. We explain why the confirmation of the VAT-ID number is required and how to check VAT-IDs for validity.
Why does the VAT-ID have to be confirmed?
The special confirmation procedure makes it easier for companies participating in the OSS procedure to check whether a VAT registration existed when the service was provided to a merchant registered in the EU. The corresponding VAT ID must be indicated on all invoices when trading within the European Union for supplies of goods or services to companies.
What is a VAT identification number?
The VAT ID (in Germany: USt-IdNr. and UID) is issued to entrepreneurs by the Federal Central Tax Office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern – BZSt) in addition to the tax number. It is used to identify active companies within the EU and sell and buy goods internationally. It consists of eleven digits:
- 2-digit country code
- 8-digit unique number
- 1-digit check number
Confirmation of the VAT identification number
Information on whether the VAT identification number (VAT ID) is still valid in the issuing EU Member State at the exact time of the request.
- Is only carried out in combination with the Simple Confirmation
- Checking the validity of the VAT identification number
- Checking for further links of the VAT ID to the company name, legal form and address
Who is entitled to request the verification of the VAT ID?
- who participate in the One-Stop-Shop programme and who
- have a valid registration number (NETPID).
- who are registered for VAT purposes but have not yet received a VAT ID.
For companies that do many requests for business reasons, it is a good idea to integrate the confirmation requests into their systems. However, not all data can be confirmed, and causes can be missing information from the business partner or spelling mistakes.
Where can one carry out the VAT ID?
VIES system is available as a one-stop shop. It is provided by the EU and is a system for electronic validation of the VAT number or VAT ID of merchants registered in the European Union for cross-border transactions of goods or services.
The main disadvantage is the lack of automation of the query. If you have to check many UIDs regularly, it is very time-consuming.
Check the VAT number of your EU trading partners
Check the VAT IDs of your business partners in the EU automatically and audit-proof without integration effort. It can be used for each of your B2B trade transactions.
VAT ID check after Brexit
A check of the previous VAT number of British companies (prefix “GB”) is no longer possible since Brexit from 01/01/2021 onwards. However, special rules apply for Northern Ireland, through which, among other things, tax-free deliveries continue to be possible. As a result, there is also an obligation to check the VAT identification numbers concerned. Companies can apply for a special VAT number for Northern Ireland (prefix “XI”). Further information on the changes in VAT and customs can be found here.