How to find a business’s VAT number

Updated on May 16, 2022

A unique registration number will be assigned to each of your company’s VAT-registered suppliers. For the purpose of reclaiming any VAT you’ve paid to your suppliers, you’ll need the VAT number of your own supplier if your company is likewise VAT-registered.

Discover what a VAT registration number is, why it’s necessary, and where to look for it with the aid of this helpful guide.

What is a VAT registration number?

When a firm registers for VAT, HMRC gives it a unique identifier: a VAT number. With nine digits and prefix “GB,” VAT numbers are standard in the UK.

If you’re dealing with a provider in another EU country, the VAT number will have a unique country code. On its website, HMRC provides a list of European Union member state ID formats.

Why is it important?

HMRC may reject your claim if you attempt to reclaim VAT without having received a valid VAT number from your supplier. If this occurs, you may be on the hook for the bill or saddled with a mountain of paperwork to make things right.

Where can I find it?

The first place to look for another company’s VAT number is any invoice it has provided to you. All invoices for a VAT-registered business should include a unique ID number.

Contact the supplier immediately if you pay VAT but the invoice they send has no VAT registration number on it. You’ll need a proper VAT invoice from them in order to reclaim any VAT that they’ve charged you.

Checking a VAT number is valid

Checking the validity of a VAT registration number can be done in two ways:

Calling the HMRC VAT helpline

If you have any doubts about a VAT registration number, you should phone HMRC’s VAT helpdesk at 0300 200 3700.

Checking the VIES website

VAT numbers from throughout the EU and the United Kingdom can be verified using the EU’s VAT Information Exchange System (VIES). A VAT number’s validity can be verified by entering the registration number and necessary country code into fields supplied.

You should contact the supplier as soon as possible if VIES shows that the provider’s VAT registration is invalid.

Your business’s VAT number in FreeAgent

FreeAgent will automatically include your VAT number on any invoices you send using the software if your company is VAT registered. From your account, you can also submit MTD-compliant VAT returns straight to HMRC.

Find out more about how FreeAgent tackles the complexities of the UK VAT system to calculate what you owe.