VAT number – What is a VAT number?

Updated on June 26, 2022

Every VAT-registered business is given a unique identification number, known as a VAT number.

When should you produce a VAT invoice? Find out in this guide.

Only enterprises that are registered for VAT are issued VAT numbers, which are used for tax purposes. As a result, a VAT number is also known as a VAT registration number or a VRN.

You can have multiple VAT numbers, as long as they’re distinct from your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) or your Company Registration Number (CRN).

Why do I need a VAT registration number (VRN)?

In order to track down VAT-registered enterprises, a VRN is utilized. Consequently, you may find yourself in need of a VAT number in a number of tax-related scenarios.

VAT Returns and VAT numbers

Registering for VAT necessitates reporting your VAT on a regular basis throughout the tax year, either manually on HMRC’s website or through an authorized Making Tax Digital program.

This information is needed to verify the periods for which you must report VAT and if you have met your reporting requirements to HMRC when filing your tax return.

How to get a VAT number

As soon as you complete the registration process for VAT, you will receive a VAT number. You will receive a VAT registration certificate once you have finished the VAT registration process, which validates your VAT number, the date of your first VAT return, and your “effective date of registration” (which is either the date your VAT taxable turnover crossed the VAT threshold or the date you requested to register voluntarily).

How to check a VAT number

If you use an inaccurate VAT number, you may face difficulties with your VAT returns in the future.

Therefore, anytime you sell to a customer who has provided their VAT number, when you write your VAT number on an invoice, or when you offer your VAT number to a supplier, you should verify that it is valid and accurate.

The UK Government’s website is the fastest and most reliable resource for finding out a company’s VAT number.

VAT number format

VAT numbers can take a variety of formats, lengths, and structures, depending on the nation in question. All EU VAT registration numbers have two letters that identify the country and a sequence of numbers.

‘GB’ is followed by nine numbers in VAT numbers in England, Scotland, and Wales. ‘GB123456789’ is an example of a VRN that adheres to the UK VAT number format.

If your company is based in Northern Ireland and you do business with the EU, you will instead use the prefix “XI” instead of GB. XI123456789, for instance.