Question about the French VAT ID number structure
Thread poster: Maciek Drobka

Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Jan 25, 2011

Hello,

A direct client from France contacted me two days ago. As a routine check, I am verifying all the information they gave me about their company. As part of that, I verified on the European VAT number site that the French VAT number they had given me is valid.

There is one more thing that I would like to check if possible. The way I understand it, the French VAT number is made up of 'FR' + 11 digits (the first two of which can be alpha characters). Of the 11 digits, the last 9 are simply the company's business registration number. I wonder whether the first 2 of the 11 digits have any significance. Do they match a geographic area or another specific parameter?

Your input will be appreciated.

Maciek


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Aude Sylvain  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:22
English to French
+ ...
check other official details of a FR company Jan 25, 2011

Hello Maciek,

Yes, the structure is the one you mentioned. The two digits after FR are simply a key given by the Tax office, except if I am mistaken they do not have any meaning.

I understand you already checked the validity of the VAT no. at http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/vieshome.do

To check the other company's details (comp. reg. no., address, activity, date of registration etc.) you can visit http://www.infogreffe.fr/infogreffe/index.jsp (free and partially localised in English).
If your customer does not appear in the blue box, this may be that they are not registered as a commercial company; click on "(voir aussi les XXX établissements : artisans, professions libérales, associations... inscrits dans le répertoire SIRENE et non immatriculés au Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés)" in the white box to see if they are reg. as a non-commercial entity.
This service won't confirm that the VAT No. is theirs but will at least allow you to check:
- that the other data they gave you are correct,
- that their company reg. number ("Identifiant SIREN") does match the VAT number you have.

HTH






[Edited at 2011-01-26 00:03 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The way I see it Jan 26, 2011

Maciek Drobka wrote:
The way I understand it, the French VAT number is made up of 'FR' + 11 digits (the first two of which can be alpha characters). Of the 11 digits, the last 9 are simply the company's business registration number.


I had to deal with a French VAT number recently, and the way I understand it (after googling and verifying etc) is that the French VAT number isn't "9 digits plus 2 digits" but simply "11 digits". I can imagine that residents of other EU countries might mistakenly think that the first two digits can be omitted when quoting the VAT number, but that is not so.

That said, Aude is probably right in his/her statement that the two extra digits are sorting numbers used by the tax department.


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification Jan 26, 2011

Samuel Murray wrote:

Maciek Drobka wrote:
The way I understand it, the French VAT number is made up of 'FR' + 11 digits (the first two of which can be alpha characters). Of the 11 digits, the last 9 are simply the company's business registration number.


I had to deal with a French VAT number recently, and the way I understand it (after googling and verifying etc) is that the French VAT number isn't "9 digits plus 2 digits" but simply "11 digits". I can imagine that residents of other EU countries might mistakenly think that the first two digits can be omitted when quoting the VAT number, but that is not so.

That said, Aude is probably right in his/her statement that the two extra digits are sorting numbers used by the tax department.


Structurally, the French VAT number IS 2 digits + 9 digits (not 9 digits + 2 digits), the last 9 digits being the company's business registration number. I am aware that all 11 digits must be quoted on invoices. My idea was that if the first 2 digits stood for a region (just an example), and a client who said they were based in Lyon gave me the code for Paris, that would be fishy.

M


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jan 26, 2011

Aude Sylvain wrote:

Hello Maciek,

Yes, the structure is the one you mentioned. The two digits after FR are simply a key given by the Tax office, except if I am mistaken they do not have any meaning.

I understand you already checked the validity of the VAT no. at http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/vieshome.do

To check the other company's details (comp. reg. no., address, activity, date of registration etc.) you can visit http://www.infogreffe.fr/infogreffe/index.jsp (free and partially localised in English).

(...)



Thank you, Aude, for pointing me to the infogreffe site. It seems to confirm that I can trust my new client.

M


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Aude Sylvain  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:22
English to French
+ ...
structure of the VAT no. Jan 26, 2011

EDIT:

Samuel Murray wrote:
Maciek Drobka wrote:
The way I understand it, the French VAT number is made up of 'FR' + 11 digits (the first two of which can be alpha characters). Of the 11 digits, the last 9 are simply the company's business registration number.


Sorry I read too quickly yesterday.
You are correct that the VAT No. is FR+[11 digits], but the first two out of the 11 digits cannot be alpha characters. They are always digits.
I saw that the EU's taxation website (http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/faqvies.do#item11) states the contrary but I honestly never saw FR+[2letters]+[9 digits].

All French VAT numbers, as far as I know (including mine) are structured that way:
"FR 11 222 222 222"
where FR is the country code, 11 a key number given by the tax authorities and 222 222 222 the company registration number (so called "SIREN identification no.")


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Aude Sylvain  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:22
English to French
+ ...
Infogreffe Jan 26, 2011

Maciek Drobka wrote:

Thank you, Aude, for pointing me to the infogreffe site. It seems to confirm that I can trust my new client.

M


You are welcome!


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No alpha characters Jan 26, 2011

Aude Sylvain wrote:

You are correct that the VAT No. is FR+[11 digits], but the first two out of the 11 digits cannot be alpha characters. They are always digits.
I saw that the EU's taxation website (http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/faqvies.do#item11) states the contrary but I honestly never saw FR+[2letters]+[9 digits].



Which means that the EU leaves a lot of room for creativity for the French taxation authorities.

M


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Aude Sylvain  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:22
English to French
+ ...
- Jan 26, 2011

Maciek Drobka wrote:

Aude Sylvain wrote:

You are correct that the VAT No. is FR+[11 digits], but the first two out of the 11 digits cannot be alpha characters. They are always digits.
I saw that the EU's taxation website (http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/faqvies.do#item11) states the contrary but I honestly never saw FR+[2letters]+[9 digits].



Which means that the EU leaves a lot of room for creativity for the French taxation authorities.

M


Indeed


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