Verifying your VAT numbers is an important step in tax compliance when selling B2B. Learn how this can affect your business and how to check if your business is VAT registered in South Africa.

Unfortunately, there is a VAT fraud issue where you can provide a fake business ID to avoid paying excise tax on your purchases. B. In the EU, it is your responsibility to ensure that these trade tax IDs are valid in fraud-proof locations such as:

READ ALSO: How Do I Find A VAT Vendor? | www.sars.gov.za

If you do not verify the validity of the customer’s VAT numbers and reverse charge if the buyer has a fake VAT number, the excise tax will be out of your own pocket.

A VAT number has between 4 and 15 digits, starting with the two-digit country code. For example, VAT numbers in Germany start with “DE” and those in Italy start with “IT.” 

The country code is followed by 2-13 other characters, usually numeral digits.

Here’s everything you need to know about what a VAT number is and how it functions.

Most countries provide a VAT number lookup tool on their public tax agency website. This is a very manual process. You must visit the website, find the VAT verification service, type in the tax ID of your customer, and complete the search. Of course, you must repeat this for each customer buying from you!

In some cases, in order to use a country’s VAT number lookup service, you will need to provide your own business VAT ID in that country as well. Be sure to have it handy before you begin.

READ ALSO: VAT Vendor Search | sarsefiling.co.za

How do I check a VAT number in South Africa?

  1. Go to the free service provided by South Africa’s SARS eFiling system.
  2. You’ll see the VAT Vendor Search page, and can choose from several options.
  3. Provide the VAT registration number and the VAT trading name of the business in question.
  4. You can print or save your search results. This might be worthwhile to keep in your tax records.


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