Is a UK VAT number real?
It’s possible to check whether the VAT registration number shown on an invoice is valid. This is important because you can’t recover VAT incorrectly charged by an unregistered trader (unless HMRC allows them to do so by concession). Registration numbers should be tested as follows:
- The first seven digits of the VAT registration number are listed vertically.
- Each digit is multiplied by a number, starting with 8 and decreasing to 2.
- The sum of the multiplications is calculated.
- Subtract 97 from the sum as many times as is necessary to arrive at a negative number.
- The negative number should be the same as the last 2 digits of the VAT registration number if it is valid.
VAT registration number 339 0727 47
3 *8 = 24
3 *7 = 21
9 *6 = 54
0 *5 = 0
7 *4 = 28
2 *3 = 6
7 *2 = 14
Total = 147
147 - 97 = 50 - 97 = - 47
As the negative number (- 47) is the same as the last two digits of the VAT number, the number is valid! You’ll be pleased to know that there is a VAT number check facility on the HMRC website – just click here and save it as a favourite for when you want to validate a number.