Professionals: what is the purpose of the intra-Community VAT number?

An intra-Community VAT number is assigned to every VAT-registered company domiciled within the European Union. What is it exactly? What is it for? How do I obtain it? What operations are eligible? All the answers for professionals.

What is an intra-Community VAT number?

The intra-Community VAT number is a tax identifier issued to companies subject to VAT and domiciled in a member country of the European Union (EU).

Composed of the FR code and 11 digits in France, it is issued at the time of registration or declaration of activity by the tax authorities in the country of domicile.

What is the purpose of this number?

The purpose of issuing an intra-Community VAT number is to facilitate and guarantee commercial transactions between EU companies.

In practical terms, this identifier simplifies :

  • customs procedures,
  • tracking and refunding VAT on deductible VAT.

It must appear on the company's invoices, on declarations of exchange of goods or services, and on the company's VAT returns.

Intra-Community VAT: which transactions are concerned?

Two types of transaction are subject to intra-Community VAT.

1. Intra-Community acquisitions

Imports of EU goods into France are subject to French VAT. This tax must be paid by the purchaser or service provider. The VAT charged is deductible, provided that the invoicing rules have been respected. Invoices must bear two indications: the price excluding tax and the intra-Community VAT numbers of the purchaser and supplier.

2. Intra-Community deliveries

Deliveries of goods from France to an EU country are subject to French VAT. Sales may be exempt from VAT if the parties are subject to this tax, if the transaction is for consideration, and if the purchaser has an intra-Community identification number and proof that the goods have been transported out of France.

Where can I obtain an intra-Community VAT number?

To obtain an intra-Community VAT number, contact the CFE (Centre de formalités des entreprises). The number is issued free of charge once you have obtained your SIREN number.

Please note, however, that for companies not liable for VAT, the allocation of this identifier is not automatic. To obtain it, you need to send a request by post to the SIE (Service des impôts des entreprises).

Companies with suppliers or customers in the EU can check the validity of this number to avoid fraud and scams. To date, however, there is no European database that can be used to check an intra-Community VAT number on the basis of a company name.