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5 Best Ways How to Check if Your Company is VAT Registered

Jul 19, 2021 | European VAT

How To Check if a Company is Vat Registered: 5 Best Ways How to Check if Your Company is VAT Registered

When you start up your company or work with a supplier/partner, you may forget to check if your VAT number is valid. It is against the law for a firm to operate (run a business) in the United Kingdom if its VAT taxable revenue exceeds specific criteria (£85,000 for VAT registration). According to UK law, companies are required to be registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if they earn above £85,000 in turnover. 

However, determining whether or not a business’s counterpart is registered for VAT might be challenging. Don’t worry, this article will show how to check if your VAT number or that of a supplier is valid.

It’s a straightforward process that requires little time and effort. This will ensure that you and your company are not liable for any tax fraud and money laundering.

There are two ways to verify the validity of a value-added tax registration number (VRN) of your company. This is especially useful when dealing with a new customer or supplier, who may require this as evidence for other tax purposes.

How to Check if Your Company is VAT Registered
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To verify if a VAT number is valid, you may phone HMRC on the VAT helpline or use the European Commissions’ digital platform called the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES).

In this article, we will take a closer look at these options and how you can use these options in order to check if your business has a legitimate VAT number from HMRC. 

How to Check if Your Company is VAT Registered: What is a VAT Number? 

A VAT number is made up of 15 alphanumeric characters, the first two of which represent the country in which the company is registered. Currently, all nations in the European Union (EU) use two-letter country codes.

Businesses should first check if a UK VAT number is valid by seeing if it is 9 digits long (excluding the country code (GB) at the beginning). The first seven digits are random numbers, while the last two are determined using a formula based on the first seven.

1) Making a Call to HMRC VAT Helpline

Businesses can call the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) value-added tax (VAT) Helpline on 0300-200-3700 to verify if a VAT registration number is genuine or not. It is advisable to make this call anytime between 8 am and 8 pm throughout the week.

However, there are several drawbacks to this approach. For starters, HMRC can only verify VAT numbers for businesses registered in the U.K. Additionally, the VAT Helpline’s short timeframe or opening hours can be a barrier for UK firms.

There may be times when a company needs to inquire about its VAT number outside of helpline hours, or when it takes time to speak or build up a dialogue with a member of staff.

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2) Check using the UK Gov Website 

If you are a business or an entrepreneur that wants to check if his business has been registered, all you need to do is check the UK VAT number on this website.

You may use this service to check if a UK VAT number is valid. You may equally use this service to verify the name and address of a business from the issued VAT. 

If you are a business operating in the UK, you may use this service to prove when you check a VAT number for a business in the UK.

Not only is the service equally available in Welsh, but it also is fairly straightforward and a foolproof way to ensure your business has its VAT number registered with HMRC. 

3) Make use of the Digital Platform from the European Union – VAT Information Exchange System (VIES)

Businesses in the UK can use the digital platform, which is an online VAT number validation service provided by the value-added tax (VAT) Information Exchange System, instead of calling the HMRC VAT hotline (VIES).

The European Commission’s VIES platform assists businesses in verifying the legitimacy of a VAT registration number for any firm in the EU. The VIES portal in the UK employs real-time data feeds from all member states’ VAT systems, ensuring that the information given is always up to date.

When a company visits the VIES website, they can choose from a drop-down menu (member-state & VAT number and requester member state & VAT number).

The company will input information relevant to the country in which it operates, as well as the VAT registration number that must be validated. The site will then inform the firm whether or not the number is legitimate and has been registered with the competent authority.

4) Speak to your Accountant or Agent

You may equally speak to your accountant or agent if you want to verify your VAT number. For entrepreneurs that use accounting or bookkeeping services, they may be able to check that their company is VAT registered with relevant employees of the organization.

For a majority of firms, the accountant can provide all the details related to the payment of VAT. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is VAT Fraud?

    Tax avoidance includes VAT fraud. It occurs when a company fails to charge VAT when it is due, or when a company charges VAT but fails to pay it to HMRC. They could request that you pay in cash to avoid paying VAT on a transaction or job, or that you make multiple payments to different people or firms. 

  • Should I use the EU VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) if I am in the UK? 

    If you are doing due diligence and checking your VAT number, using the UK Gov website is much simpler. However, if you are a European Business, you are better off using the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) from the European Union. 

  • How is Northern Ireland Treated after Brexit in terms of VAT?

    In terms of VAT on products, Northern Ireland (NI) continues to be treated as an EU Member State. In terms of VAT on services, Northern Ireland has not been considered a member state.

Conclusion

As an entrepreneur, it is important to do some due diligence to ensure that you can conduct business legitimately and effectively. In other to ensure that your goods and services are taxed correctly by HMRC, it is necessary to check your VAT number on the HMRC or VIES website.

You may equally verify the number written on an invoice that has been sent to a client by calling HMRC, although this process could be time-consuming. 

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