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VAT registration confirmation procedure

In order for entrepreneurs to be able to check the validity of the VAT registration number of an EU business partner, the "VAT registration confirmation procedure" was introduced throughout the European Union. Every entrepreneur is obliged to perform the VAT registration number search using FinanzOnline. Only in cases where this is infeasible due to a lack of the necessary technology (e.g. no internet access) can confirmation requests be directed towards the entrepreneur’s competent tax office (→ BMF)German text with confirmation being provided in writing in each case. There is also the option of performing an electronic self-enquiry via the EU server (→ EC).

When submitting a confirmation request using FinanzOnline, the response is communicated electronically. The printout is made by the person requesting the confirmation. The printed confirmation serves as proof and must be retained pursuant to section 132 of the BAO.

There are two options in the two-stage VAT registration confirmation procedure provided:

  • Step 1 (simple confirmation procedure)
    This step simply checks the validity of a VAT registration number provided by another Member State. There is no reference to a particular entrepreneur.
  • Step 2 (qualified confirmation procedure)
    In this step, the validity of a VAT registration number provided by another Member State in connection with a particular name and address in another Member State is checked. The request according to Step 2 is usually only useful where there are doubts regarding the accuracy of the details of the recipient of the goods or their entrepreneurial status, or a business relationship is being forged for the first time with a business partner.

There are no legal requirements as to how often the VAT registration confirmation procedure must be undertaken. The use of the VAT registration confirmation procedure can be a sign of a diligent businessman’s exercise of diligence. The entrepreneur can decide for themselves whether or not to submit requests for all customers or only for new customers. The entrepreneur is also able to carry out checks on a sample basis only. It is also up to the entrepreneur to decide how often to confirm the VAT registration number throughout the business activity. In the case of a long-standing business relationship, entrepreneurs are more able to trust that their business partner’s VAT registration number is valid. If the validity of a VAT registration number is confirmed in the VAT confirmation procedure, it can be assumed that this VAT registration number is valid for the entire day of the query. Multiple queries of the same VAT registration number on only one day are therefore not necessary.

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Please note

Entrepreneurs registered on USP are able to make use of FinanzOnline and many other online procedures with a single sign-in to the USP. More detailed information about registering with the USP can be obtained from the online advisor for USP registration (BMDW)German text.

Translated by the European Commission
last update: 1 January 2021

responsible for content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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