The VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) is an electronic database used to transmit the VAT registration information for companies registered in the European Union. Any company that produces taxable supplies in the Netherlands needs to register for a VAT number. This is applicable for all companies, irrespective of their field of activity. The VIES system makes it easier to transmit this mandatory information between suppliers.
How the VIES works in the Netherlands
After its introduction, the VAT Information Exchange System made it easier for traders within the European Union to perform their tasks and it significantly reduced the amount of administrative procedures and customs documents. Essentially, suppliers can easily check the validity of a company’s VAT number by accessing the system and looking for the respective VAT number.
According to the European Union legislation, the company receiving goods in a member state must pay the VAT. The supplier is exempt from paying the value added tax, however, it must make sure that the company receiving the goods is a taxable entity that holds a valid VAT number. Whenever traders accesses the VIES in order to obtain information about a company, the system replies with a Yes/No response, to indicate whether or not the company has a valid VAT number.
In the Netherlands, the VAT number is constructed using the following algorithm: the initials NL followed by one block of twelve characters (numbers). Our accountants in the Netherlands
can detail how the system works in different states of the European Union.
VAT database in the Netherlands
Although there is no overall European database of all the registered VAT persons in the EU, the VIES works by connecting to individual databases of Member States and accessing the information available in their database. The VIES does not automatically provide other information except the VAT number, unless the information (address, name) is provided by the Member State.
If your company performs trade activities in the Netherlands and the VAT number of one of your customers is invalid, you should check with the fiscal administration. Our Dutch accountants
can detail the registration procedure for intra-community VAT operators