VAT taxpayer status - How to confirm with a foreign contractor?

Service-Tax

In order to apply the 0% rate, entrepreneurs carrying out EU transactions must be sure that the contractor has the status of a VAT taxpayer. Therefore, it is extremely important to have confirmed information about the taxpayer's status. This can be done in several ways.

The intra-community supply of goods is taxed at a 0% tax rate, provided that the taxpayer:

  • it has made a supply to a buyer who has a valid and valid identification number for intra-Community transactions, assigned by the buyer's Member State, containing the two-letter code used for value added tax;
  • before the expiry of the deadline for submitting a tax return for a given tax period, has evidence in its documentation that the goods being the subject of the intra-Community supply were exported from the territory of the country and delivered to the buyer within the territory of a Member State other than the territory of the country,
  • when submitting a tax return showing this supply of goods, he is registered as an EU VAT payer.

As can be seen, one of the conditions for applying the 0% rate is that the buyer has a valid identification number for intra-Community transactions.

VAT taxpayer status - VIES System

The most popular method of confirming registration for VAT purposes is the VIES system, which allows you to generate information on the status of a VAT taxpayer from another EU country via a website. The tax authorities also consider the VIES system as reliable, an example of which is the individual interpretation of the Director of the Tax Chamber in Bydgoszcz, ref. No. ITPP2 / 443-433 / 10 / AK, from July 22, 2010, in which we can read:

“(...) in the case of contractors from the European Union, where there is value added tax, it is possible to determine the contractor's status, among others, by providing the VAT number and confirming that the buyer's VAT identification number is valid. Confirmation of the validity of this number in this case may take place - taking into account the provisions of Art. 97 sec. 17-19 of the Act - via the VAT information office or the head of the tax office, or on the website of the European Commission (at http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies).

Therefore, it should be assumed that a sufficient and reliable way to confirm that the buyer of the service has a proper and valid identification number for intra-Community transactions issued by the Member State of the buyer is to have a printout from the website mentioned above, indicating that the number is up-to-date or that the number is valid ( received in writing, by fax, by phone or by e-mail from the above-mentioned VAT information exchange office or from the head of the tax office). Therefore, the presence of a taxpayer in the information exchange system on VIES and confirmation of this clearly determines the registration of the contractor as a taxpayer of value added tax, and thus a taxpayer in accordance with the above-mentioned art. 28a point 1 lit. a) of the Act and is the basic (essential) procedure to be followed in the situation described above (...) ”.

Regulations on the operation of the VIES information system in the European Union are regulated by Council Regulation (EU) No. 904/2010 of October 7, 2010 on administrative cooperation and combating fraud in the field of value added tax (Journal of Laws of the EU L No. 268/1 with d.).

Each Member State is obliged to make available to other European Union countries its national database of taxpayers registered for intra-Community trade, containing data of all entities that have been assigned a VAT number. The database contains the following information on each taxpayer:

  • individual VAT identification number,

  • name and surname or name of the taxpayer,

  • company address: this is the address according to which the company is assigned to the relevant tax office,

  • date of granting the identification number,

  • date of expiry of the identification number.

Upon request, the following response is obtained via the website of the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies):

YES - the given number is valid at the moment or

NO - the given number is invalid or incorrect.

Polish regulations

Pursuant to the Regulation of the Minister of Development and Finance of February 27, 2017 on the designation of an organizational unit for the purposes of confirming the identification of a specific entity for the purposes of intra-Community transactions in the territory of a Member State other than the territory of the country and informing about the lack of such confirmation (Journal of Laws of 2017, item 434) an organizational unit for the purposes of confirming the identification of a specific entity for the purposes of intra-Community transactions in the territory of a Member State other than the territory of the country and informing about the lack of such confirmation is the Tax Administration Chamber in Poznań.

Requests for confirming the VAT identification numbers of foreign counterparties can be submitted:

  • by electronic means: [email protected]

  • by post to the following address:
    Tax Information Exchange Office
    Chamber of Tax Administration in Poznań
    ul. Poznańska 46
    62-510 Konin

  • by phone: confirmation of VAT numbers of EU contractors takes place via the hotline of the National Tax Information from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 801 055 055 or 22 330 03 30

  • by fax: 240 19 89 or by submitting an application to the competent head of the tax office.

We will obtain a written confirmation of the VAT number of the EU contractor only by sending the application by e-mail or by post. We must wait a maximum of 7 days to receive an answer.

The above options make it possible to obtain information on the tax status of the reported counterparties as of the date specified in the submitted application for verification.

It should be noted that all methods apply to contractors from the EU, there is no such possibility in the case of contractors from outside the EU. In such situations, the only thing left to do is try to find information on their pages.