How do I look up VAT numbers?
- Willeke Leensma
- 17 Dec 2021
- Edited 7 Mar 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 Chamber of Commerce KVK. After registration, you will immediately be given an 8-digit KVK number. This number shows that you are officially registered with KVK and formally own a company. KVK certificates do not state VAT IDs and sales tax numbers. You are not immediately assigned an ID or number when you register. First, KVK will forward your details to the tax administration, who will assess if you are subject to VAT.
If the tax administration deem you to be an entrepreneur for VAT purposes, they will send you two letters within two weeks. One with your VAT ID and one with your sales tax number.
VAT identification number
A VAT identification 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 communications. Every VAT ID number has the following format: NL123456789B01.
Sales tax number
Your sales tax number is only of interest to you and the tax administration. It used to be called the VAT number. You use the sales tax number for your VAT returns, reclaiming irrecoverable VAT and reverse-charging your VAT. Every sales tax number has the following format: 111234567B01.
I lost my VAT ID or sales tax number
If you lost your VAT ID or sales tax number, log into Mijn Belastingdienst Zakelijk. To do so, follow the steps below:
- go to Mijn Belastingdienst Zakelijk (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 sales tax number right away.
I am looking for the VAT ID of my customer or supplier
Do you want to look up the VAT ID of a new customer? Or 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 IDs directly from your customers or suppliers, because there is no central VAT number database. Neither the tax administration nor KVK gives 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 number but want to check it because you supply goods or services abroad? You can check the VAT ID 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.
- 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.
Using your VAT ID on VIES
Do not use your sales tax number on the VIES website and do not pass it on to customers and suppliers. When you verify a sales tax number on the VIES website, you will see the message ‘Invalid VAT number for cross-border transactions in the EU’. If you enter your VAT ID instead, you will see the message ‘Yes, valid VAT number’. When customers and suppliers ask for your VAT number, give them your VAT ID. Like you, they can check this number in VIES.
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 eenmanszaken do not have an RSIN and that you will not find an RSIN on their Business Register Certificates.