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HMRC internal manual

VAT Single Market

Record keeping, reporting and accounting: VAT Information Exchange System (VIES): Introduction


All Member States are required to maintain an up to date, complete and accurate VIES database. This takes information gathered from ESLs (see VATSM7600) and allows that information to be exchanged with other EC tax authorities. It also enables businesses to confirm the VAT registration numbers of their customers in other Member States.


VIES is used in routine pre-visit preparation, visit selection, risk assessment and credibility processes. The data can be used to

  • monitor the level of zero-rated supplies and tax-free acquisitions made by UK businesses
  • identify irregularities
  • examine Single Market activity and verify records, and
  • identify potential intra-community fraud.