Supplied by the European Commission

01 -  What is VIES (VAT Information Exchange System) on-the-web?

It is an electronic mean of validating VAT-identification numbers of economic operators registered in the European Union for cross border transactions on goods or services.

02 - How is this information obtained?

When you need to verify the VAT number of your customer in another Member State through VIES on-the-web, this request will be sent, through a secure connection, to the relevant national database to check if the given number is recorded there. If yes, the "Valid" status will be displayed. If not, "Invalid" status will be displayed. Depending on the national rules on data protection, some Member States will also provide the name and address linked to the given VAT number as they are recorded in the national databases.

03 - The system indicates that a number is invalid. What action should I take?

If a VAT number is shown as invalid, in the first instance check with your customer that the number quoted is correct (correct number of characters, correct length and country prefix). If the number quoted by your customer, even after checking, continues to be ‘invalid’, you should ask that business to contact his/her tax administration to request that the data in the national VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) be updated (only national tax administrations can update VIES data). Should you find out that your business’ data are incorrect or not up to date, you should contact your own tax administration and ask for it to be corrected. Please note that some EU tax administrations will require you to submit such requests in writing or by completing a form. Some Member States require an additional registration for intra-EU transactions and record in their national VIES databases only such VAT numbers; therefore, it is possible that a VAT number, even if correct, will not be validated through VIES, because the owner of that VAT number is not involved in intra-EU transactions or did not register for that purposes with his/her tax administration. The tax administration that has to be contacted is always the administration that has allocated the VAT identification number for which mistakes or incorrect data are encountered. This tax administration can be identified by the country prefix that precedes the VAT identification number. The adjustments are done in conformity with the domestic procedures of the Member State concerned.

04 - Information available on VIES on-the-web is not correct; how to correct it?

Databases with VAT numbers are maintained by national tax administrations. If your information on VIES on-the-web is not up to date you should contact your tax administration. Once the update will be made, it will be immediately visible through VIES on-the-web. The changes are not validated by the European Commission.

05 - Will further information be made available?

No. Only confirmation on whether or not a number is valid. It is not possible to confirm the validity of a VAT number in the past. It is possible to do it only for the current day.

06 - Do I need to have a valid VAT identification number for my customer before I make an intra-EU supply of goods or services?

It is necessary to ensure that the person you are supplying to in another Member State is a taxable person as this is one of the elements that define the correct VAT treatment. All taxable persons have the obligation to inform their tax administration that they perform VAT taxable transactions; in exchange, tax administration provides them with a unique VAT number. VIES on-the-web allows to validate whether the VAT number provided by your customer is registered in the relevant national database. The valid VAT number of your customer should be mentioned on your invoice.

07 - Do I need a valid VAT number for my recapitulative statement?

Yes. The number of your customer quoted in your recapitulative statement which you submit to your tax administration must be correct.

08 - What is a recapitulative statement?

Taxable persons making the intra-Community supplies report the total supplies in the relevant quarter to each taxable person in another Member State on a recapitulative statement which is submitted to the tax administration of the taxable person making the supply.

09 - Is it possible to know the algorithms used by Member States in the construction of their VAT identification numbers?

The European Commission cannot divulge these algorithms.

10 - What do I have to do if my own VAT number appears as invalid?

The Commission´s web site is a real-time system which checks the validity of VAT identification numbers against the databases maintained by Member States. If your VAT number appears as invalid, you should take this matter up with your own tax administration.

11 - What do I have to do if the VAT number of my customer appears as invalid?

The Commission´s web site is a real-time system which checks the validity of VAT identification numbers against the databases maintained by Member States. In other words, when you check a number, it is the database of that Member State that is being checked. If the VAT number of your customer comes up as invalid, then he should take the matter up with his fiscal administration.

12 - What do I have to do if the web site doesn't run?

The Commission´s web site is a real-time system which checks the validity of VAT identification numbers against the databases maintained by Member States. In other words, when you check a number, it is the database of that Member State that is being checked. Some parts of the system may be unavailable at certain times due to the necessity to back-up the Member States' databases. This is a known problem, and the Commission is working with Member States to ensure that the length of time that their databases are down for updating is kept to a minimum.

13 - What do I have to do if my IP address has been blocked?

In circumstances where certain actions would be recognized as abusive use of the service, the originator of the request (specific IP address) will be blocked. If you think that an IP address has been wrongfully blocked by the service please contact: TAXUD-VIESWEB .

14 - What do I have to do if I receive an error message?

Please refer to the Help page for a list of possible answers from the service. If you receive an error that is not in the list please contact: TAXUD-VIESWEB .

15 - Is it possible to have the name and/or the address linked to a VAT number?

Certain Member States permit the display of the name and address of the taxable person where the VAT number is currently valid. If no name/address is displayed, this means that the relevant Member State does not permit the display of this data. Customers have the right to get confirmation from their own tax administration if a VAT identification number is associated with a name and/or address.

16 - Is it possible to get the VAT number of a customer/supplier knowing his name and address?

It is not possible to search for a VAT number based on the name or address.

17 - What do I have to do if I cannot check the validity of the VAT number of my customer?

If you believe that your customer is not a taxable person, you should not exempt the supply but should charge VAT.

18 -  Why do certain software suppliers ask for a VAT identification number when I purchase over the internet?

Suppliers of electronic services, such as anti-virus updates are obliged to charge VAT on the service. If the purchaser of these services is a taxable person, then in certain circumstances, it is the customer, rather than the supplier who must account for the VAT. For this reason, the supplier may ask for the VAT identification number of the customer, so that he can confirm whether it is he who must charge the VAT or whether the customer himself will account for the VAT. If the customer does not have a valid VAT number, then the supplier will charge VAT.

19 - Austrian VAT numbers have an "ATU" prefix, but the Commission´s web site only provides an "AT" prefix for Austrian numbers.

The correct prefix for Austria is "AT". The first position for Austrian VAT numbers is always "U". You should therefore enter a "U" as the first character when verifying an Austrian VAT identification number.

20 - I try to validate a Spanish VAT number, the number is valid but the name and the address are not provided.

For Spanish VAT numbers, the name, address and the type of company need to be entered together with the VAT number to be validated; Spanish database will not provide them automatically.

21 - Is there a database with all VAT registered persons available?

The Commission web site is connected to the Member States VAT databases respectively and the verification is based on the information available in the respective database. There is no central database.

22 - Where can I obtain more information about the EU VAT fiscal administration?

You can find this information in the VAT in the European Community publication by visiting the website at https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/vat/eu-country-specific-information-vat_en

Other questions

01 - The VAT number is declared valid but the company information is replaced by "---"

The data are transmitted directly by the Member States. Some countries have made the choice not to communicate the contact details of companies (this is the case in Spain).

02 - I do not want information about my company to be shared with third parties via this app.

The information provided by this application is of public order and comes from the European Commission. Please contact your country's service department to know the procedure to remove public data about your company.

03 - I receive a message telling me that due the a lot of simultaneous requests from me, the use of this service is restricted.

This means that the application has received several alerts from the service of the European Commission. This service is free, so it is essential to preserve it. To prevent the service from being deleted, we ask you to limit your search.