VIES: the EU VAT Information Exchange System

VIES: the EU VAT Information Exchange System

What is VIES?

VIES stands for VAT Information Exchange System - a computerised tool used for accessing information regarding the VAT registration and the validity of VAT numbers of companies registered in the European Union.

The electronic system does not maintain its own database but only serves as a search engine. It forward queries to the national databases and transmits back data collected and provided by EU Member States.

Why is VIES necessary: VAT for intra-EU deals

With the introduction of the single market in 1993, the EU removed all fiscal custom controls (and the relevant documentation) at its internal frontiers. New EU rules and a new VAT control system was adopted regarding all intra-community supply of goods and services. Under current European laws, for all intra-EU deals, VAT is paid only in the Member State where the buyer resides. The supply of goods and services is exempt from VAT in the EU country of dispatch.

This is why the despatching company needs to be able to check quickly and easily if their EU partner abroad:

  • is a taxable person;
  • holds a valid VAT identification number.

VIES not only enables companies to confirm the VAT numbers of their trading partners, but also allows tax administrations to monitor and control the flow of trade within the EU.

Do you need legal advice and assistance? Contact our experienced lawyers.


How is VIES accessed?

Companies trading within the EU can check if their customers are VAT-registered or if a certain VAT registration number is valid using the VIES on the EC website by:

  • selecting the Member State from a drop-down menu, and
  • entering the VAT number to be validated.

What information does VIES provide?

Information provided through the system includes as a minimum a Yes/ No response on the validity of a certain VAT number. In this case the date and time of the inquiry is also featured.

It may additionally provide a confirmation if a given VAT number is associated with a certain name and address.

VAT compliance in Bulgaria

Foreign companies that provide taxable supplies of goods and services may have to register for VAT in Bulgaria under certain circumstances.

The standard VAT rate in the country is 20%, whereas the reduced rate is 9% (hotel and accommodation).

The format of Bulgarian VAT numbers is BG123456789 (BG followed by 9 or 10 digits).

Read more about VAT rates and registration here.


Traders should always check their customer’s VAT number and make sure they comply with all taxation laws.

If you need to consult a good tax lawyer in Bulgaria, contact us. Danailova, Todorov and partners can help with all kinds of legal matters.


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