How to check an Intra-Community VAT number?

  • Last update: 10.04.2024
  • Published: 21.04.2023
  • Read in: 4 min

Nowadays, many companies operate within the European Union, which requires them to have an intra-community VAT number. This number is essential for the correct VAT settlement in transactions between EU countries. If you are conducting business or planning to engage in international transactions, it is valuable to know how to check the intra-community VAT number.

How to check an Intra-Community VAT number?

From this article, you will learn:

  • What is an intra-community VAT number (VAT EU)?
  • When a taxpayer needs to obtain a VAT EU number,
  • What are VIES and the VIES search engine?
  • How to check an intra-community VAT number?

What is VAT EU?

VAT EU is the European equivalent of a tax identification number, which a VAT taxpayer receives after registering for VAT EU. It is required when engaging in intra-community transactions, in terms of intra-community supply and intra-community acquisition of goods.

Moreover, as a VAT EU taxpayer, a Polish entrepreneur must register if they wish to conduct intra-community transactions and are exempt from VAT because they do not exceed the threshold of 200,000 PLN, but:

  • the sum of their intra-community acquisition of goods exceeded 50,000 PLN in a given tax year,
  • they want to provide services that will be settled in the country of the customer.
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How to register for VAT EU in Poland?

In Poland, to receive a VAT EU number, you must submit a VAT-R form to the tax office in paper form, send it by mail, or submit it online.

However, if you already have a tax identification number for your business because you have registered as an active or exempt VAT taxpayer, you simply need to submit an update of the VAT-R form.

It is worth noting that possessing a VAT EU number requires its use during every intra-community supply of goods or intra-community acquisition of goods. It takes the form of a tax identification number preceded by the prefix PL.

You will find more details about VAT EU registration in our article – How to obtain a VAT EU number?. This article also covers the tax obligations that must be met by a VAT EU taxpayer and the deadlines for submitting VAT EU declarations.

Three Ways to Check an Intra-Community VAT Number

There are three main methods to check a VAT EU number.


Check the number on the invoice

The simplest way to check an intra-community VAT number is to find it on the invoice or document issued by the VAT EU taxpayer. This number should be listed on the invoice as “VAT EU number” or “EU tax identification number”. For international transactions, it is necessary to verify that this number is correct and matches the name and address of the company.


Check on the VIES website, where the VIES search engine is available

If you do not have access to the invoice, you can use the EU website where the VIES search engine is available. (VAT Information Exchange System).

When a number is assigned for VAT EU purposes, it is then verified in the VIES system, which is under the European Commission and contains a database of VAT EU numbers from 27 member states and Northern Ireland.

The VIES system allows for the verification of the correctness of a VAT EU number in the EU. Just go to the VIES website, select the country and enter the VAT number you want to check. The VIES search engine will immediately verify if the number is correct and matches the name and address of the company.


Contact the tax office

If you still have doubts about the VAT EU number, you can contact the tax office in the seller’s country if you are buying, or in the buyer’s country if you are selling. Officials can confirm the correctness of the number or provide other information related to VAT settlement.

Why check an Intra-Community VAT number?

If you are a VAT payer providing services or selling goods to a customer from another EU country, there is an obligation to pay value-added tax. In this situation, if the seller cannot find the customer’s VAT number, they may charge the VAT rate applicable in their country, which could be more expensive because the same goods or services may be subject to a lower tax in the destination country.

How to check an Intra-Community VAT number? - Summary

A businessperson conducting intra-community transactions not only has the tax obligation of VAT settlement but also the registration for VAT EU. This can be done at the tax office by submitting a VAT-R form or updating documents if registration as an active or exempt VAT taxpayer has already been completed.

The VAT EU number is a European tax identification number, prefixed by a country-dependent prefix, e.g., PL, which allows for the identification of a company within the territory of a member state other than the country where it is headquartered.

VAT EU is also referred to as an intra-community VAT number, which can be easily checked in three ways:

  • on the invoice,
  • in VIES,
  • at the tax office in the country where the counterpart is registered.

If you need help with VAT registration and want to ensure that all formalities have been taken care of, schedule a consultation with us and learn how our VAT Compliance specialists can assist your company.

If you would also like to learn how to obtain a VAT EU number, we have prepared an article describing this issue. Also, check what the split payment mechanism is.

Antoni Merkun Copywriter and marketer, who has been cooperating with Taxology since March 2023. Interested in SEO and content marketing.