How to check VAT registration

VAT stands for Value Added Tax. It is a consumption tax placed on goods and services in the European Union (EU). Goods for export (sold outside of the EU) are not assessed a VAT, but imports are taxed so importers won't gain an unfair advantage over EU-based businesses. The tax is assessed as a percentage of the price and is collected via a partial payment system. As the purchaser cannot recover VAT that has been incorrectly charged by an unregistered vendor, it is important to verify VAT registration at the time of purchase.

Check online at the European Commission's VAT number validation page (see a link in the Resource section). You can verify the VAT number for any EU-based business at this site.

Go to the verification page. You can verify the company's VAT registration by entering the Member State name (a drop-down menu is provided) and entering the VAT number to be validated.

Print off a copy of the validation screen as proof of the company's VAT registration at a given time and date.

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Working as a full-time freelance writer/editor for the past two years, Bradley James Bryant has over 1500 publications on eHow, and other sites. She has worked for JPMorganChase, SunTrust Investment Bank, Intel Corporation and Harvard University. Bryant has a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Florida A&M University.

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