The European Commission operates a search engine on its website to verify VAT numbers by entering the European member state and the VAT number. Individual nations also operate databases on their websites, but the European Commission's search engine aggregates that data into a single search utility, according to the European Commission.
Value-added tax, commonly called VAT, is a tax on goods and services sold and consumed in the European Union, according to USA Today. The standard VAT rate is 15 percent. Products made for export outside the EU or sold to foreigners are not subject to VAT, but exports within the union are subject to the tax. Companies that are based outside of but do business in the EU must register for VAT identification numbers, which must be unique to each corporate entity. VAT identification numbers consist of up to 15 alphanumeric characters. The first two characters of the identification number indicate the EU member state in which the company is registered.
VAT-registered companies pay VAT to other companies on items during the production process, according to Irish Tax and Customs. Companies can deduct VAT paid through their supply chains, and then they charge a final VAT to the end consumer. The VAT is therefore imposed on the value that is added at each stage of production.