A VAT number is a registered tax identification number in tax systems that use Value-Added Tax (VAT). When you register for VAT in a single country, you receive this identifier for their system.
Important note: This is not the same as a local tax number or tax ID. A VAT number is exclusively for the Value-Added Tax scheme.
What does a VAT number look like?
The number has between 4 and 15 digits, starting with the two-digit country code (e.g.- DE for Germany or IN for India), followed by 2-13 other characters.
What is a VAT number for?
For tracking your business’ input & output VAT
You or your business receive a VAT number upon registering for the VAT tax system in a certain country. It's used to track how much tax your business pays and collects through purchases and sales (expenses and revenue). You should put it on all of your tax receipts and invoices.
For selling B2B
When you sell to a VAT-registered business, they will provide you with their business’ VAT number. Then you can often use the reverse-charge mechanism for the transaction.
Important note: You should always verify that the VAT number is valid in that country’s tax system, since giving false IDs is a form of fraud.
For filing VAT returns
When it’s time to file VAT returns, you use the number and your invoice records to determine how much your business owes the government, or vice versa!
What’s Value-Added Tax (VAT)?
Glad you asked! VAT is a specific kind of consumption tax, applied to the sale of goods and services.
The largest market using Value-Added Tax is the European Union. If you’re curious to learn more about EU VAT, check out this guide to EU VAT digital tax rules.
Need a VAT number?
If you need to get an EU VAT number but aren’t sure how, read on about how to get an EU VAT number if your business isn’t based in Europe.
Once registered for VAT, Quaderno can help you comply with VAT laws anywhere in the world.
Quaderno is a tax software that handles sales tax, VAT, and GST for your online business. Quaderno automatically calculates tax, verifies the VAT numbers in B2B sales, sends tax receipts and invoices, and provides instant multi-channel tax reports for sales any country.
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