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4 Min. Read

How to Find a VAT Number: Business VAT Number Check

How to Find a Vat Number: Business Vat Number Check

As a business owner, you want to make sure that you do your due diligence on any company that you are thinking about working with.

It’s easy enough to do a quick google search to find the backstory of a company or get some reviews from their previous customers.

But no matter how much research you have done, it’s still vital that you verify the VAT number of any VAT registered business that you are dealing with.

But what exactly is a VAT number and how do you find the VAT number of a business? We’ll take a closer look.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Is a VAT Number?

Why Are VAT Numbers Important?

Where Can I Find a VAT Number?

How Can I Check If a VAT Number Is Valid?

Key Takeaways

What Is a VAT Number?

The Value Added Tax number, or VAT, is a unique ID that HMRC provides to businesses when they first register for VAT.

In the UK, a VAT number is nine digits long and is easily identifiable as it will always have the prefix ‘GB’. However, if you’re dealing with businesses in European countries, then the format of VAT numbers will follow a different style.

HMRC provides a list of European Union member ID formats on their website so you can easily check depending on what country you are dealing with.

Why Are VAT Numbers Important?

It’s imperative that you get the VAT number from a business or supplier that you trade with.

This is because if you reclaim VAT without a valid VAT number, it could lead to HMRC rejecting your tax claim. This could end with you footing the tax bill or dealing with a large amount of admin work to rectify the situation.

In most cases, VAT errors are innocent mistakes. But there are instances where some people may try to fraudulently use another business’ VAT number.

Where Can I Find a VAT Number?

A business can find their own number on the VAT registration certificate that they will have been issued by HMRC.

If you’re looking for the VAT code of another business, it should appear on any custom invoice that has been supplied to you. It is an industry standard to have your unique VAT ID number listed on any invoice that is sent out.

If you pay VAT to a supplier but the invoice they send you doesn’t have a registration number, then you should contact them immediately.

Remember, to successfully file a claim with HMRC you’ll need to have a valid VAT invoice from the businesses you’re dealing with.

How Can I Check If a VAT Number Is Valid?

There are currently two different ways to check if a VAT registration number that you’ve been supplied with is legal and valid:

Calling the HMRC VAT Helpline

The first way to check that a registration number is valid is by checking with HMRC. They have a detailed database of every VAT-registered business, so they can readily check that the number you’ve been given is legitimate.

You can call their VAT helpline bureau by phone on 0300 200 3700.

Checking the VIES Website

If you’re looking to check the VAT number for a business from the EU, then you can use the European Union’s VAT Information Exchange System or VIES.

This database can be used to check if a VAT number is valid. It can be used for both UK VAT numbers and VAT numbers from the EU. To use the system, simply enter the registration number and relevant country code into the database and you can easily check if the number is valid.

Key Takeaways

Checking that a VAT number is valid is an important step when dealing with different businesses.

Failing to do so can not only end up being very costly, but it will also take a lot of administrative and accounting work to rectify. This would be considered time wasted which could have been put towards furthering your business.

Are you looking for more business advice on everything from starting a new business to new business practices?

Then check out the FreshBooks Resource Hub.


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