A French TVA number, or VAT number, can be verified online by visiting the European Commission's website at ec.Europa.eu, explains Brighton Accountants. Enter the member state and the VAT, or value added tax, number as well as the requester's member state and VAT number. Checking online confirms that the VAT number is valid. To be sure that the VAT number matches with the correct French business name and address, contact the U.K. VAT National Advice Service via phone.
A French VAT number, also known as a TVA registration number, consists of 13 characters, according to EUVAT Refund. The first two characters are the two-letter country code, which for French numbers, is FR. The next two characters are the two-digit processing code, and the remaining digits comprise the SIREN number. The French commercial administrative offices use the SIREN number as a reference number.
VAT numbers are only issued to businesses and individuals who sell property or products, or who provide services, explains EUVAT Refund. The French government requires individuals and businesses who meet these requirements and have an income above a certain threshold to have a VAT number. Having a VAT number is optional for businesses and individuals with incomes below the threshold.
When exporting goods to France, a U.K.-based business must verify the French customer's VAT number to determine if U.K. VAT should be charged on the sale. If a business does not undertake reasonable steps to verify a French customer's VAT number and the number is found to be incorrect, the business typically has to pay the U.K. VAT on the sale, explains Brighton Accountants.