VIES is a service of the European Commission that allows you to check whether a company is registered for tax purposes and if it is allowed to trade cross-border within the European Union.
What is the VIES
Although it looks like a database, VIES is more like a search engine. This VAT information exchange system is available in 23 languages and is provided by the European Commission. It is used to check the validity of a VAT identification number.
This way you can make sure that your VAT registration is valid. Further, in case you are not sure if a sellers is trustful, the VIES can help you to be on the safe side.
If you enter a search query, there are two possible results. All you have to do is enter the Member State and the VAT number to be checked.
Outcome 1: The information requested can be found in the national database where the company is supposed to be located.
Outcome 2: The request is unsuccessful and the tax information is invalid.
Since there are some countries within the EU that require special registrations for intra-EU transactions, an invalid number may be the result of an incomplete registration. In most cases, if the number is invalid, the VAT number simply does not exist or has not been activated.