VAT Information Exchange System

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VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) is an electronic means of transmitting information relating to VAT-registration (i.e., validity of VAT-numbers) of companies registered in EU. The European Union requires that when goods or services are procured within the EU, VAT has to be paid only in the member state where the purchaser resides. For this reason, it is necessary that the supplier has an easy way to validate the VAT number presented by the purchaser. This validation is performed through VIES.

VIES does not maintain itself a VAT number database. Instead, it forwards the VAT number validation query to the database of the concerned member state and upon reply, it responds to the inquirer with the information provided by the member state. This information includes at least a "YES/NO" answer on the validity and existence of the supplied number, and it may also include additional information such as the holder's name and address, if this information is provided by the member state.

VIES optionally provides a unique consultation number that can be used to prove to a tax administration that a given VAT number at a given time resulted in a given validation reply.

Germany, Italy and Spain provide similar services at the national level.[1]

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