FAQ – Verification Tool - Gigapay

FAQ – Verification Tool

What is a VAT-number and why is it important?

A VAT number is a unique reference to a specific company or person that is registered for VAT. The VAT number is important to establish what rules are applicable when it comes to handling VAT. When both the buyer and the seller of a service or a good is registered they make use of “reverse charge”, i.e. that the seller may reduce the VAT to 0% for the sold goods or services to that buyer. In the event that the buyer does not have a VAT number, the seller is normally obliged to charge VAT. In other words, the presence or absence of a VAT number could change the VAT obligations for the seller of the services or goods. Furthermore, the DAC7 directive forces certain platforms to collect and verify the VAT-number.

What is a TIN and why is it important?

A TIN stands for Tax Identification Number and is a unique identifier for an individual or a legal entity. The number is often used in connection when the individual or company handles tax related matters, such as submitting the annual tax declarations. In some EU member states the TIN is also the same as the social security number or the business registration number. For certain platforms it is important to start collecting and if possible verifying the validity of the TIN to comply with the DAC7 directive.

Aren’t VAT numbers and the TIN the same?

No, they aren’t the same. Holding a TIN number does not mean that you are able to handle VAT or participate in the EU VAT system utilising intra-community VAT schemes. Note however that certain member states use variations of the TIN when generating and issuing the VAT number. This, however, cannot be assumed to be the case in each market and there can be many variations on how it’s done. 

What does the VAT-number validator check?

The VAT-validator checks that the VAT number submitted exists in the VIES database. If the validator says that the VAT number can be found, then there is a record in the VIES for that exact number. Note that an extra precaution could be to check the name and the address.

What does the TIN-number validator check?

The TIN-number validator checks that the TIN number of the company or individual follows the format and structure in the EU country, and if applicable verifies if the check digit is correct. 

Why does the number return an error when I know it is correct?

Make sure that you fill in the number in the correct format. All numbers should be submitted as a block, in other words there should be no spaces.

The VAT number I have sent doesn’t exist in VIES, what does it mean?

It means that we could not find the VAT number in the EU VAT number database – VIES. The reasons behind this can be different, e.g.:

  • The number submitted is invalid or made up
  • The company or individual is not registered for VAT in the country
  • The company or individual is not registered for intra-EU VAT trades. In certain countries, like Germany, the company or individual may have to register an EU VAT-number to trade with other EU countries.
  • The format of the VAT number is incorrect, please make sure that there are no blank spaces or unwanted characters. For a specification of the formats please see description and formats

If you intend to do business with the company or individual, you should make sure that the VAT number is corrected and verified.

What formats do the VAT numbers in different member states have?

All EU VAT numbers consist of two parts: (1.) a two letter prefix, and (2.) a unique string. The prefix denotes the member state in which the company or individual is registered for VAT in. Please note that this prefix is not the same as country codes as per ISO 3166, a list of the prefix per country can be found in the table below. While the unique string is a reference to the specific entity that is registered for VAT in the member state.

For example, Sweden has the prefix “SE” followed by a unique string of 12 digits. This means that the VAT number could look something like this: SE123456789012

For your reference, you can use the table below to double check that the VAT number you submit follows the correct structure and format.

Please note that it is common in certain countries to add blank spaces or characters to make the VAT number easier to read. These need to be removed when using the verification tool. The VAT number needs to be written in a block. See the table below for the accepted formats of TIN numbers in each EU country. 

Member StateMember state prefixStructure*Format
AustriaATATU99999999AT + U + 8 digits
BelgiumBEBE0999999999BE + 0 + 9 digits
BelgiumBEBE1999999999BE + 1 + 9 digits
BulgariaBGBG999999999BG + 9 digits
BulgariaBGBG9999999999BG + 10 digits
CyprusCYCY99999999LCY + 8 digits + 1 letter
Czech RepublicCZCZ99999999CZ + 8 digts
Czech RepublicCZCZ999999999CZ + 9 digits
Czech RepublicCZCZ9999999999CZ + 10 digits
GermanyDEDE999999999DE + 9 digits
DenmarkDKDK99999999DK + 8 digits
EstoniaEEEE999999999EE + 9 digits
GreeceELEL999999999EL + 9 digits
SpainESESX9999999XES + 1 letter/digit + 7 characters + 1 letter/digit
FinlandFIFI99999999FI + 8 digits
FranceFRFRXX999999999FR + 2 letters/digits + 9 digits
CroatiaHRHR99999999999HR + 1 block of 11 digits
HungaryHUHU99999999HU + 1 block of 8 digits
IrelandIEIE9S99999LIE + 1 digit + 1 character (letter, digit, “+” or “*”) + 5 digits + 1 letter
IrelandIEIE9999999XXIE + 7 digits + 2 letters/digits
ItalyITIT99999999999IT + 1 block of 11 digits
LithuaniaLTLT999999999LT + 1 block of 9 digits
LithuaniaLTLT999999999999LT + 1 block of 12 digits
LuxembourgLULU99999999LU + 1 block of 8 digits
LatviaLVLV99999999999LV + 1 block of 11 digits
MaltaMTMT99999999MT + 1 block of 8 digits
The NetherlandsNLNL999999999B99NL + 9 digits + B + 2 digits
PolandPLPL9999999999PL + 1 block of 10 digits
PortugalPTPT999999999PT + 1 block of 9 digits
RomaniaRORO99RO + 1 block of 2 digits
RomaniaRORO999RO + 1 block of 3 digits
RomaniaRORO9999RO + 1 block of 4 digits
RomaniaRORO99999RO + 1 block of 5 digits
RomaniaRORO999999RO + 1 block of 6 digits
RomaniaRORO9999999RO + 1 block of 7 digits
RomaniaRORO99999999RO + 1 block of 8 digits
RomaniaRORO999999999RO + 1 block of 9 digits
RomaniaRORO9999999999RO + 1 block of 10 digits
SwedenSESE999999999999SE + 1 block of 12 digits
SloveniaSISI99999999SI + 1 block of 8 digits
SlovakiaSKSK9999999999SK + 1 block of 10 digits
Northern IrelandXIXI999999999XI + 1 block of 9 digits
Northern IrelandXIXI999999999999XI + 12 digits
Northern IrelandXIXIGD999XI + GD + 1 block of 3 digits
Northern IrelandXIXIHA999XI + HA + 1 block of 3 digits

* Below are descriptions of the different characters used in the composition of the VAT number as per the column “Structure”:
9: A digit
0, 1, B, U: the actual letter or digit
X: A letter or digit
S: A letter, a digit, + or *
L: A letter

What does the DAC7 directive say about VAT numbers and TINs?

The DAC7 directive specifies that specific platforms that connects sellers and buyers of personal services (i.e. task- and/or time-based work), goods, rental of property, and rental of transportation shall collect and verify VAT and TIN numbers against any free-of-charge electronic interface that is made available by either the EU or the member states. 

In the verification tool, you can verify the VAT number against VIES, and the format and structure of the TINs against TIN on-the-Web. In the future we are working on implementing support for testing the TINs against local databases in each member state where they are made available.

Why do you have two algorithms for TIN?

We have several algorithms on TIN on-the-Web, however, the TIN on-the-Web does not always accept numbers that are correct or have slight format variations commonly used in the local market. Such as hyphens or backslashes. In many cases the TIN on-the-Web may return that the format is incorrect, when it, arguably, just is a formatting difference.

Why aren’t company TINs tested against TIN on-the-web?

TIN on-the-Web is designed to test TIN numbers issued to individuals within the EU, unfortunately there is currently no official EU tool that offers format validation of company numbers. However, using our tool you can test the TIN numbers against officially published formats, structures and check digits.

We are interested in automating the verification, do you have an API?

In Sweden, you pay about 50% of the invoiced amount in taxes, excluding VAT. The We are currently developing an API addressing verification of data collected to comply with the DAC7 directive. You can contact us by either sending an email to dac7@gigapay.co or by using this form.

I can’t find the answer to my question, what should I do?

Contact us at dac7@gigapay.co or by using this form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.