EU VAT Numbers 101

Everything you need to know about VAT numbers in the EU.

What is an EU VAT number?

A specific “EU VAT number” doesn’t exist per se. VAT stands for Value Added Tax (as it’s called in the UK) and is a consumption tax charged on items at the point of sale. All 27 Member States apply VAT in their own way and have their own names for consumption tax. For example, in France it is TVA and in Spain it is IVA. Depending on your circumstances you may need to register locally in each country.

While an EU-wide “EU VAT number” doesn’t exist, the One Stop Shop (OSS) and Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) schemes act a little like an “EU VAT number”. Through these schemes, you can report all your eligible intra-EU (OSS) or imported EU (IOSS) sales via a single electronic return.

How do I check an EU VAT number?

To check your own VAT number or the VAT number of another business, you can use VIES. VIES is a tool developed by the European Commission to confirm the validity of VAT numbers across the EU.

You may need to check a VAT number is valid to ensure you’re compliant when completing your returns. There is a separate tool to check UK VAT numbers.

Do I need an EU VAT number?

There are a variety of situations which may trigger a VAT obligation. Generally, non-EU businesses will need to register when trading with the EU. A common reason is if you a holding stock within an EU country you will need to VAT register. For example, if you are an Amazon FBA seller, you will need to register in each country where you are storing goods.

We have compiled a comprehensive list of VAT registration triggers here. If in doubt, contact our team.

Do I need an EU VAT number post-Brexit?

Since leaving the EU, VAT will now be payable on importation to a Member State for UK businesses. You will also need to apply the correct VAT rate of the destination country. Make sure you’re applying the correct rate of VAT by checking our EU VAT Rates PDF.

Additionally, UK businesses now need a GB EORI number to export goods into the EU.

How do I get an EU VAT number?

To get a VAT number you have to apply locally through the relevant Member State’s tax authority. Application timescales can vary so you should factor this in when planning to sell into the EU. We have longstanding relationships with the EU tax authorities. Through us, you can be sure your applications are processed smoothly and quickly. We can get you set up wherever you need to be VAT registered in the EU and handle your monthly returns.

Getting VAT registered in another country can be complex. With us, you can continue selling stress-free while we handle the hard stuff.

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Which EU VAT scheme is right for you?

Take our quick quiz to find out whether you’re eligible for the OSS or IOSS schemes.

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