Checking the VAT number

Whenever you start doing business with a new counterpart from another EU country, make sure to check the validity of that counterpart’s VAT number before you send your first invoice. Contact the company or person with whom you have a business relationship, and ask for their VAT number. 

Remember to make regular checks on the validity of the VAT numbers of the other people you do business with, too. You must use the VAT number itself to check its validity. For example, you cannot make the check if you enter a company name in the search field.

You can check VAT numbers on the European Commission website:

VIES VAT number validation

The answer you get is either yes or no:

  • “Yes, a valid VAT number”
  • “No, an invalid VAT number for cross border transactions within the EU”

If you receive the “No” answer, you must contact the company and ask them to give you another VAT number. Please note that you cannot use an identification code with the “EU” prefix for commercial operations with goods and services within the EU.

The national legislation of some EU countries prevents the public display of VAT taxpayers’ names and addresses. In these circumstances, you can call our service number to check whether a given VAT number matches the company name of your partner entity. However, you must still first have asked them to give you a VAT number that you can check. 

Other ways to check VAT numbers

  • Calling our service number on 029 497 062 (standard call rates).
  • By e-mail: eu.vies(at)vero.fi, especially if you have several different numbers to check. Save the VAT numbers in an Excel worksheet and send it to us.

More information on VAT numbers

If you are registered for VAT in Finland, the VAT number is formed using the country code FI and a string of digits that is the same as the Business ID without the dash between the two last digits. For example, if the Business ID is 0765432-1, the Finnish VAT number is FI07654321.

The structures vary from country to country. However, all VAT numbers have a prefix, the country code, consisting of two letters. The remaining part is a string of characters that varies between 5 and 12 in length.

For more information, see the table showing the VAT numbers of EU countries

If you are a business enterprise and you have commercial transactions with another business domiciled in another EU country, you must have that other business’s VAT number available for your use.

You must add it to your sales invoices and other documentation when transactions are carried out between yourself and other VAT taxpayers in the following circumstances:

  1. Your enterprise sells goods as an intra-Community supply (the cross-border selling of goods within the EU)
  2. Your enterprise buys goods as an intra-Community acquisition (cross-border purchase of goods)
  3. Your enterprise sells a service, and the VAT reverse-charge scheme is applied, i.e. the buyer is liable to pay VAT. Example: A business enterprise provides a service on which the general rule on sales from one VAT taxpayer to another applies. Because of this, the sale is subject to VAT in the buyer's country (supply of services within the EU).
  4. Your enterprise buys a service on which the VAT rules on reverse charge are applied, making the buyer liable to pay VAT. Example: A business enterprise buys a service from a provider in another EU country. It is a service on which the general rule on sales from one VAT taxpayer to another applies, and because of this, the sale is subject to VAT in Finland.

In addition, you must add the VAT number to your sales invoices when your company sells

  • goods in a distance selling scheme
  • a new means of transport to a non-VAT-registered customer in another EU country.