How do I look up VAT numbers?
- Willeke Leensma
- 17 December 2021
- Edited 20 June 2023
- 3 min
You have lost your own VAT ID or want to look up a customer’s VAT number. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it seems. There is no simple VAT ID database because of privacy reasons. Here is how you can request your own VAT number and check your customer’s VAT number.
Every entrepreneur is required to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK. After registration, you will immediately be given an 8-digit KVK number. KVK passes on your details to the Tax Administration. It assesses whether you are an entrepreneur for VAT purposes. If so, you will then get a VAT ID number and VAT tax number from the Tax Administration
If the Tax Administration deem you to be an entrepreneur for VAT purposes, they will send you 2 letters within 2 weeks. One with your VAT ID number, and one with your VAT tax number.
VAT identification number
A VAT identification number (VAT ID number) is a unique number. You use it when communicating with customers and suppliers, such as on your invoices and website. Simply put, you use your VAT ID for all your general communications and include it on your invoices. Every VAT ID number has the following format: NL123456789B01.
VAT tax number
You use your VAT tax number for all communications with the Tax Administration. For example, for your VAT returns, reclaiming irrecoverable VAT, and reverse-charging your VAT. Every VAT tax number has the following format: 111234567B01.
I lost my VAT ID or sales tax number
If you lost your VAT ID or VAT tax number, log in to the website of the Tax ('Mijn Belastingdienst Zakelijk', in Dutch). To do so, follow the steps below:
- go to Mijn Belastingdienst (in Dutch)
- click on the top left menu
- select ‘Ondernemen’
- select ‘Btw (omzetbelasting)’
- log in as an entrepreneur with your personal DigiD
You will see your VAT ID and VAT tax number.
I am looking for the VAT ID of my customer or supplier
Do you want to look up the VAT ID number of a new customer? Or to check the VAT number of one of your business partners or suppliers? You can often find your customer’s VAT ID on their quotes or invoices. If you still cannot find what you are looking for, contact the business directly. You can only request VAT ID numbers directly from your customers or suppliers, because there is no central VAT number database. The Tax Administration and KVK do not give out information about VAT numbers.
I want to look up the VAT number of a foreign company
Unfortunately, it is impossible to look up the VAT number of a foreign company. You can request this number only from the company itself.
Checking VAT numbers
Do you have a company’s VAT ID number but want to check it because you supply goods or services abroad? You can check the VAT ID number of Dutch companies or the VAT number of European customers on the website of the European Commission through the online VIES (VAT Information Exchange System). You can also check the name and address information of business partners here.
Verifying VAT numbers with VIES can be complicated. Here is how you verify the VAT numbers and address details of your customers and suppliers. Please note that VIES is case-sensitive.
How VIES works
- Select the EU member state where your customer is based (for example: BE (Belgium) or DE (Germany)).
- Enter your customer's VAT ID number.
- Select NL-Netherlands.
- Enter your own VAT ID.
- Click on ‘Verify’. If all the information you entered is correct, you will see the message ‘Yes, valid VAT number’ in green.
- If the number is valid, you will see the message ‘Yes, valid VAT number’ with your customer’s business name and address. Print the page and enclose it with your invoice to demonstrate to the tax authorities that you applied the right VAT rate or reverse-charging scheme. You can enter your own number at the bottom of the screen, but this is not a required field.
- If the number is invalid, you will see the message ‘Invalid input’ or ‘Invalid VAT number for cross-border transactions in the EU.’ Tell your customer that you will have to charge Dutch VAT because their number prompts an error message. Your foreign customer can then contact its local tax authorities for further explanation.
Do not use your VAT tax number on the VIES website and do not pass it on to customers and suppliers.
Looking up an RSIN number
All legal entities and partnerships, such as BVs, verenigingen (associations), stichtingen (foundations), VOFs (general partnerships), and maatschappen (partnerships) are given a RSIN number (Rechtspersonen en Samenwerkingsverbanden Identificatie Nummer) when they register with KVK, along with their KVK number. This number is used by government agencies like the Tax Administration to exchange data with other organisations and agencies. You can find a company's RSIN in the Business Register certificate (paid). In some cases, companies or organisations mention their RSIN on their own website.
Please note that sole proprietorships do not have an RSIN. So you will not find an RSIN on their Business Register Extract.