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July 2011

Check EU Vat numbers

If you supply goods or services to customers in other member states of the EU, one important piece of information is the customer’s VAT identification number.

In the case of goods, if you do not show it on the invoice to the customer, you not entitled to zero-rating. In the case of services, you will have a compliance failure if you cannot quote it when completing your EC Sales List.

That is why we recommend that you check the customer’s VAT Identification number on the VIES website and print off and retain the validation report: -

1 when you take on a new customer;
2 at least annually thereafter; and
3 when you identify a change in the customer’s business (for example, the adoption of a new trading style).

This year a further reason to recheck VAT ID’s has arisen in respect of Italy. Italy has changed the way in which it issues VAT identification numbers, and have allocated new numbers to many businesses. As a result, if you supply Italian businesses, we strongly recommend that you check with the customer as to their current VAT ID and then validate the number on the VIES website.