EU VAT number formats

Once a business has submitted its application for a valid value added tax (VAT) number and received approval, it can expect to receive its EU VAT number in up to eight weeks (depending on the country in which the application was submitted, and its national tax system). 

Each EU member country has a slightly different format for its VAT number system, featuring a variation of numbers and letters. It’s important for businesses to pay close attention to these numbers and ensure they’re using the correct format, as EU VAT numbers are frequently checked against the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES). Any errors could cause disruption in the form of processing delays, or even financial penalties.  

The relevant nation’s country code — consisting of two letters — is inserted before the VAT number if the company is using the number for the purposes of intra-community trade. Below is a summary of the standard formats for each EU country, plus Norway, Switzerland, and U.K. (non-EU nations).

EU VAT number format

CountryCountry codeFormatCharactersNotes
AustriaATU123456789 charactersThe first character is always a ‘U’
BelgiumBE123456789010 charactersPrefix with ‘0’ if the customer provides a 9-digit VAT number
BulgariaBG123456789, 12345678909 or 10 characters 
CroatiaHR1234567890111 characters 
CyprusCY12345678X9 characters The last character must always be a letter
Czech RepublicCZ12345678 123456789 12345678908, 9 or 10 characters If more than 10 characters are provided, delete the first 3
DenmarkDK123456788 characters 
EstoniaEE1234567899 characters 
FinlandFI123456788 characters 
FranceFR12345678901 X1234567890 1X123456789 XX12345678911 characters May include alphabetical characters (any except O or I) as first or second or first and second characters.
GermanyDE1234567899 characters 
GreeceEL1234567899 characters 
HungaryHU123456788 characters 
IrelandIE1234567WA (companies) 1234567FA (individuals)8 or 9 characters Includes one or two alphabetical characters (last, or second and last, or last two)
ItalyIT1234567890111 characters 
LatviaLV1234567890111 characters 
LithuaniaLT123456789 1234567890129 or 12 characters 
LuxembourgLU123456788 characters 
MaltaMT123456788 characters 
NetherlandsNL123456789B01 or 123456789B0212 charactersThe 10th character is always B. Companies forming a VAT Group have the suffix B02
Norway (non-EU)NO123456789MVA9 digits and the letters 'MVA' to indicate VAT registration 
PolandPL123456789010 characters 
PortugalPT1234567899 characters 
RomaniaRO123456789010 characters 
SlovakiaSK123456789010 characters 
SloveniaSI123456788 characters 
SpainESX12345678 12345678X X1234567X9 characters Includes 1 or 2 alphabetical characters (first or last or first and last)
SwedenSE12345678901212 characters 
Switzerland (non-EU)CHE123.456.7899 numbers plus MWST/TVA/IVAGerman part: MWST; 
French part: TVA;
Italian part: IVA
United Kingdom (non-EU)GB1234567899 characters 

What is a VAT identification number?

A VAT identification number is also known as a VAT registration number. It’s a unique number, typically consisting of up to 12 characters, that identifies a taxable person (business) or non-taxable legal entity that is registered for VAT. Valid VAT numbers are issued by tax administrations. 

Every EU country issues its own national VAT identification number, meaning businesses supplying goods or services in multiple EU nations may be required to apply for multiple VAT identification numbers. Schemes such as Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) and One-Stop Shop (OSS) are designed to simplify the VAT registration process. 

Who needs a VAT number?

Regardless of their type or operating structure, most businesses carrying out the supply of goods or services taxed with VAT will need a valid VAT number. In particular: 

  • When making an intra-EU acquisition of goods
  • When receiving services for which they are liable to pay VAT
  • When supplying services for which the customer is liable to pay VAT