Taxation and Customs Union

Updated on May 24, 2022

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What is a VAT identification number?

Taxable persons (businesses) and non-taxable legal entities that are registered for VAT are identified by a unique identifier known as a VAT registration number.

Check whether a VAT number is valid

Check how VAT number is called in national language of each EU country

Who needs a VAT number?

A VAT number is required by the majority of enterprises and other individuals engaged in economic activity (see Article 214 VAT Directive for full details).

In the following instances, a business must register for VAT:

when providing VAT-taxable products and services; while acquiring goods within the EU; while receiving services for which it must pay VAT (in accordance with Article 196 VAT Directive); while providing services for which the client must pay VAT (under Article 196 VAT Directive).

Does the same VAT number apply for all EU countries?


Every EU country has a unique VAT number for its citizens.

If a company sells products or services in many EU nations, it may be required to obtain a VAT number in each one.

Telecommunications, radio, and television service providers can use a “mini One Stop Shop” to streamline their registration process.

Format of VAT numbers

The first digit of a VAT identification number must be the country code, followed by a sequence of digits or characters that is unique to that nation.

The VAT identification number is unique to each EU country.

Who issues a VAT number

There have been reports that enterprises in different EU Member States have received approaches offering to get a legal VAT number for an upfront payment. An official EU publication, it seems, is what these ideas are.

Only tax administrations are authorised to issue VAT numbers, according to the EU Commission. If you get any unsolicited messages about obtaining a VAT number, you should contact the relevant tax authority to double-check their authenticity.

The importance of VAT numbers

Used to determine a customer’s tax status.
Assist in determining the location of taxation
On bills, it’s mentioned (except simplified invoices in certain EU countries)