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What is a VAT number?

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VAT stands for Value Added Tax and is an identification number for all VAT purposes in the country to where the number was issued.

When do you need a VAT number?

As a rule, you will need a VAT number when you are performing taxable transactions in that country, especially if you are not an established business entity in the country.

Some of the process where you may need a VAT number are:

  • Exports, exporting goods may mean you need to register for VAT to zero rate your supply
  • Imports, may also require you to obtain a VAT number, especially if you are a non-established entity in the country of import
  • Storage, you may also need to obtain a VAT number in any UK/EU country you are physically holding product. This is a requirement if you are a non-established entity.

The length of time it can take to get a VAT number varies considerably depending on the country in which you are applying, with some countries processing applications within 1 week with others known to take 3-4 months.

Once you have your VAT number you will need to ensure you abide by the local authorities’ regulations and tax filing countries, this again can vary from country to country with some countries requiring monthly filing with others quarterly.

If you are unsure whether you need to register for VAT in a specific country or need further advice on your requirements, please get in touch with one of our team today for advice.

In April 2023, HMRC has published a simplified VAT guidance for overseas sellers