How to verify the VAT number of a foreign contractor?
Joining the community of the European Union is associated with the possibility of expanding the company's activity to contacts with foreign contractors. In intra-Community transactions, their participants, as a rule, are required to use their EU VAT number.
Before starting transactions with contractors from other EU Member States, the taxpayer is required to complete the VAT-R application, in which he registers to perform intra-Community transactions. After submitting the application, the entrepreneur will be able to use the EU NIP number (i.e. EU VAT number). Each Member State assigns its own EU VAT number, which consists of a two-letter country-specific prefix. For example, in Poland, the EU VAT number is created by using the company's NIP number preceded by the PL prefix. The whole is written as PL 777-777-77-77.
Verification of the tax status of foreign companies is very important for taxpayers who make transactions with foreign countries. Each party's tax status determines where most services are taxed and the VAT rate. Detailed provisions on the method of verification of foreign contractors can be found in the Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 282/2011 of March 15, 2011, laying down implementing measures for Directive 2006/112 / EC on the value added tax system (Journal L No. 77/1 as amended).
In order for everyone to be able to check whether a foreign contractor is an entity registered as an EU VAT taxpayer, the VIES system (VAT Information Exchange System) was created. The key task of the system is to verify databases of VAT-EU taxpayers' identification numbers of other Member States and to make sure that the contractor sought has one. The database also allows you to verify its tax status. In this way, the VIES system counteracts the avoidance of taxation of transactions by unauthorized entities and any tax evasion. The VIES system also provides the name and address of the entity that the inquiry concerns. However, this information is not the most important here, and therefore its update in the database is not carried out on a regular basis. The most important thing for the VIES system is to confirm or not the validity of the EU VAT number provided by the taxpayer. It should be remembered that the tax regulations only require positive identification of the current EU VAT number of the contractor. It is not necessary to verify its name or address. Therefore, the information from the VIES system confirming the activity of the EU VAT number of the foreign contractor is sufficient proof that it is considered a taxpayer identified for the purposes of intra-Community transactions.
Each Member State is obliged to maintain a database of taxpayers and the EU VAT numbers assigned to them. In Poland, the unit responsible for this task is the Tax Chamber in Poznań. Its main tasks include the coordination of activities related to the exchange of information on taxpayers and their intra-Community transactions, as well as making this information available to the relevant units of individual Member States. Applications for confirmation of the presence of a foreign contractor in the register and confirmation of his EU VAT identification number may be submitted by phone or fax, electronically by e-mail or by post. On the website of the Tax Chamber in Poznań (www.is.poznan.pl) there are non-obligatory application forms that can be used to facilitate and speed up the verification of the contractor's EU VAT number.
The EU VAT identification number can also be verified on the website of the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/). As a result of the verification, you receive confirmation or rejection whether the number indicated in the inquiry is correct and currently valid. However, you should be aware that the answer you receive is only illustrative and informative and does not confirm the validity of the EU VAT number for tax authorities. Valid and legally reliable information can only be obtained from the national tax authorities.