Updated on May 9, 2022
All of your business’s VAT-registered suppliers will have a unique registration number. If your business is also VAT registered, you’ll need your own supplier’s VAT number in order to reclaim any VAT you’ve paid to your suppliers.
This handy guide will help you understand what a VAT registration number is, why it’s important and how to find it.
What is a VAT registration number?
When a firm registers for VAT, HMRC issues it a VAT number, which serves as a unique identifier. Nine-digit VAT numbers are standard in the United Kingdom and begin with “GB” at the end of the number.
If you’re doing business with a vendor in another EU country, their VAT number will have a different format and a separate country code. On its website, HMRC provides a list of European Union member state ID formats.
Why is it important?
If you reclaim VAT without a valid VAT number from your supplier, it could lead to HMRC rejecting your claim. If this happens, you could be left footing the bill or dealing with a severe amount of admin to rectify the situation!
Where can I find it?
If you’re looking for a company’s VAT number, the first place to look is on any invoice it has given you. If a company is VAT-registered, its unique identifier should appear on all of its invoices.
Suppliers who charge VAT but don’t include their VAT registration number on their invoices should be contacted promptly. You’ll need a valid VAT invoice from the supplier in order to recover back the money you’ve spent on their products.
Checking a VAT number is valid
Verifying the validity of a VAT registration number can be done in a few different ways:
HMRC’s VAT helpdesk can be contacted at:
If you have any doubts about a VAT registration number, you should phone the VAT helpdesk at 0300 200 3700.
Checking the VIES website
The VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) of the European Union allows you to verify the validity of VAT numbers from across the EU. A VAT number’s validity can be verified by entering the registration number and necessary country code into fields supplied.
If VIES indicates that the supplier’s VAT registration is invalid, you should get in touch with them as quickly as possible to obtain the correct VAT number.
Your business’s VAT number in FreeAgent
Any invoices you submit via FreeAgent will have your VAT number automatically included if your company is VAT registered. From your account, you can also submit MTD-compliant VAT returns straight to HMRC.
If you want to learn more about how FreeAgent calculates your VAT liability for you, go here.