VIES: What is it and how do I register?

The VIES system, also known as ‘VIES Authorisation’, is a tax data and information exchange system between the member states of the European Union.

VIES stands for ‘VAT Information Exchange System’, of which VAT stands for ‘Value Added Tax’.

VIES is a tool established by the Community tax legislation which aims to tackle fraud, evasion and avoidance, and allows the automatic exchange of information between the tax authorities of the EU member states in order to verify the existence and validity of a Community VAT number.

There is an obligation to register on VIES so that all natural or legal persons and entities are assigned a NIF (tax identification number) for VAT and, in general, so that they make deliveries or purchases of goods within the European Union.

Registration on the VIES census is free and must be done directly by the tax payer through the Spanish Tax Agency .

The purpose of the VIES census is to allow the correct and valid verification of a VAT identification number assigned by one of the 27 EU member states. Therefore, once the VAT identification number that needs verification has been entered and once the assigned member state has been chosen, there will be a text description in response to the verification result that may show the following values:
  • Valid VAT Code
    The VAT identification number entered is formally correct and corresponds to an authorised operator for intra-community purposes,

  • Invalid or Incorrect VAT Code
    The VAT identification number entered seems to be ‘invalid’, since it’s not listed in the database of authorised subjects, or formally incorrect, i.e., it doesn’t conform to the algorithm provided by the selected member state.

For more information, we invite you to visit the European Commission portal aimed at validating VAT numbers on VIES.

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