Do you conduct business dealings with British contractors? Ensure that the entity you are working with is a VAT payer. The result of the verification often determines the method of settlement and accounting of tax on goods and services. This article explains how to check your UK VAT number.

Due to the fact that Great Britain left the EU community, the rules for the settlement of business transactions with British contractors have changed. As of January 1, 2021, acquisitions within the community and the supply of goods and services within the community have replaced imports and exports, respectively. but that is not all. A trader who would like to check the VAT number of a UK customer will no longer use the VIES search engine.

What is the VIES search engine?

Online VAT Information Interchange System (VATIS) is an online search engine (not a database) that allows you to check the number of business entities registered in the European Union for VAT (EU Value Added Tax). VIES does not collect data on its own, but retrieves it from national databases of member countries. By checking the entity data in the VIES system, you will find out if your contractor has the status of an active taxpayer of VAT in the European Union.

To check company data in the system:

  • Go to,
  • Select a member country ID. If you want to check with a contractor from Poland, it will of course be PL;
  • Enter your VAT number. In the case of Polish companies, the equivalent will be the NIP number;
  • Click the scan button. ready!
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See also: Accounting at LTD in Great Britain

If the company has VAT-EU status, the system will generate a message confirming the activity of the VAT number along with additional information about the entity. These are, among others: KRS number, NIP number, REGON number, PESEL number, if the entity has it, or VAT registration date.

However, when using the VIES database, you will only check the status of EU entities. How to check if a UK company has a VAT ID?

How to check if a British contractor is registered for VAT?

To check if a UK company has a VAT ID, go to, then:

  • Enter the VAT number of the company you want to check. It consists of 9 or 12 digits, and sometimes the code “GB” is at the beginning, such as 123456789 or GB123456789. If you want verification proof, check the box provided. This benefit is available exempt for companies registered as a VAT taxpayer in the UK. If the company is entered in the register, then with confirmation you will have access to the name of the company and the address at which the activity is registered.

Use this service to check:

  • Whether the UK VAT registration number is valid
  • The name and address of the company under which the number is registered.

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If you are a UK VAT registered business, you can also use this service to prove when you checked your UK VAT number. You will need your VAT number for this.

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What about companies from Ireland?

The EU VAT number is currently checked for contractors from Northern Ireland (in terms of deliveries and purchases of goods) on the website of the European Commission and the Office for Tax Information Exchange, BWIP – using an identifier with the prefix XI.

Failure to verify the entity’s VAT number from the EU and from outside the community may result in unfavorable tax consequences for the entrepreneur. Whether the contractor is an active taxpayer in VAT, in many cases, determines the method of settlement and withholding of tax on goods and services. If you conduct transactions with foreign entities, then checking the VAT number should be an essential component of business activities.