As a result of Brexit and the expiry of the transition period, the European Commission Taxation and Customs VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) system (http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/) is no longer available to GB registered businesses.
The new system for UK-registered businesses is here – https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/check-vat-number/enter-vat-details
Although many businesses still ask for a copy of the VAT registration certificate as part of their supplier due diligence process, it is essential to remember that the certificate only shows that a VAT registration existed at a single point in time. Please consider the following alternatives:
- Verify the VAT registration online as part of your invoice processing
- Verify the VAT registration at periodic intervals throughout the relationship with the supplier
- Use the online process while onboarding your supplier
The new HMRC service allows UK VAT-registered businesses to prove they have performed checks. However, this is not guaranteed to absolve companies of financial liability for any VAT paid and subsequently claimed, strengthening the need for increased vigilance. Businesses knowingly or recklessly participating in fraudulent VAT transactions can become jointly liable for the unpaid VAT.
You can report suspected VAT fraud here – https://www.gov.uk/report-vat-fraud
Robert is an information security professional with over 20 years of experience across a diverse range of organisations, both in the UK and internationally. Robert graduated in 1997 with an honours degree in software engineering for security and safety-critical systems. Robert is contactable directly through Telegram.