The value added tax identification number (VAT ID No.)

Mini series: All about the VAT ID number – Part 4.

In this multi-part series of articles, we would like to introduce you to what a VAT ID (USt-ID) is. In addition, we would like to cover interesting and worth knowing topics around the topic of USt-ID and shed some light on the subject.

We hope you enjoy reading this article!


The VAT identification number (VAT ID No.) is a unique number used to identify a taxpayer (company) or non-taxable legal entity registered for VAT purposes.

Who needs a VAT ID No.?

Most companies (and persons carrying out economic activity) require a VAT ID No. (see Article 214 of the VAT Directive).

In particular, companies are required to be registered for VAT purposes in the following cases:

    • when supplying goods or services on which VAT is charged;
    • on an intra-EU acquisition;
    • on the use of services for which the business is the VAT debtor (under Article 196 of the VAT Directive);
    • in the supply of services for which the customer is the VAT debtor (under Article 196 of the VAT Directive)

Does the same VAT ID No. apply to all EU countries?

No. Because each EU country issues its own national VAT ID or VAT numbers.

This means that companies that provide services in several EU countries or deliver goods to these countries may have to register for VAT purposes in all these countries. For more information and possible relief, if applicable, please contact your tax advisor.

How is the VAT ID No. structured?

All VAT numbers start with the country code of the country concerned, followed by a sequence of digits or characters. Each EU country itself determines the format of the VAT ID No.

An overview of the VAT ID number structure is available from the EU: