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Rakhi Vasavada
Rakhi Vasavada, Financial and Legal Consultant
Category: UK Tax
Satisfied Customers: 4543
Experience:  Graduated in law with Emphasis on Finance and have have been working in financial sector for over 12 Years
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Hello How do I check whether a company that is now dissolved

Customer Question


How do I check whether a company that is now dissolved was in fact registered for VAT when it was trading and issued invoices to us? The supplier company issued invoices to us which purported to charge VAT but we now realise there is no VAT number on any of the invoices or on the letterhead. We did not spot this when the invoices were raised. The company dissolved in 2009, and the relevance now is that there is a possible legal dispute looming and it would be helpful to know if the supplier was properly registered for VAT.

Thanks for your help.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Tax
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 3 years ago.
Hello, thank you for choosing this Q&A service today. My name is Angela and I will attempt to assist you with your issue.

It doesn't appear that the expert that you requested is currently available, so I hope that you don't mind if I assist you.

Q: How do I check whether a company that is now dissolved was in fact registered for VAT when it was trading and issued invoices to us?

A: As companies are required to write their VAT number on commercial invoices, it sounds as if this company may not have had a VAT number. In order to verify whether they ever had a VAT number, you can call the number listed below.

If you suspect that a company is not VAT registered or is engaged in VAT fraud, call the Customs Hotline at 0800-595-000.

There is also an online service that can be used, but the fact that the company is no longer in business and from what I gather thus far, no VAT number is available, might render the online verification of no use to you, but you can still try it if you have the pertinent information. The link to the online verification service is as follows:

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you regarding this matter.

As we know that you have choices, again we thank you for choosing this Q&A service today.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your reply.

The issue is that we have no VAT number to track - no VAT number on any invoice or letterhead, and no (old) website to check.

We did call the VAT office, but they said that due to Data Protection, they could take the information from us, but they could not tell us anything about the company, ie whether it was VAT registered. Hence asking the question here.

Any further suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thank you
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information. Interesting that the VAT office could not, or would not provide you with the info as to whether the company was officially registered or not. Let me investigate further to see if I can come up with an answer for you. I will get back with you soon. Thank you for your patience.
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 3 years ago.
Hello again,

There does not appear to be a way to do this online without having a VAT number. Several sources that I have referenced indicates that you should be able to find out about a company's VAT registration by calling the HMR&C. SEE BELOW:

1. Call the Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) VAT Helpline at 0845-010-9000. They will provide you with a list of options that can help to verify VAT registration.

I do apologize that I am unable to provide you with a more definitive answer, but from the sources that are made available, calling the HMR&C appears to be the only option without a number.

Thank you again for using this Q&A service. Note that I do my best to provide accurate information, but I can only provide information based on experience or what is made available to me through electronic means.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. I called Customs again this morning, in case I has missed something first time round (before raising the question here).

I received the same reply as previously : they can only verify a VAT number that we give them, they cannot track/trace one from company details that we give them. Also, as advised before, they will take information from us if we believe the company was claiming VAT fraudulently, but they will not disclose any information to us.

So, still where we were....
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 3 years ago.
Hello again,

In that case, there is no other other information that I can provide to you. I will opt out at this point and maybe another has knowledge of a way that this can be done. Sometimes questions are asked of us that we simply have no answer. From the resources that I referenced, that seems to be the case here, but I could be wrong in my thinking.

Again, thank you for choosing this Q&A service today.
Expert:  Rakhi Vasavada replied 3 years ago.
Dear Friend,

Hello and welcome. Thank you for providing an opportunity to assist you. Since the involved expert has opted out, I would like to add some different angle to it.

Let me come straight to the point. Yes, you are right that by contacting HMRC or any VAT hot line / helpline numbers, they will only "Verify" the numbers that you give. You may give them certain information to verify but they themselves will definitely not shell out any questioned information, just like in your case.

It is also correct that if you feel that you have been victim of VAT fraud, you may certainly report to them. They will certainly receive all the information that you give but will NOT give you information in the manner you are asking.

Having said this, you now probably know your answer that the company was NOT registered for VAT and you have been a clear victim of a VAT Fraud.

In such case, you have two directions to take. And yes, both can be taken simultaneously.

To begin with, since it is now certainly clear that the company was NOT registered, you can report this to HMRC as a probable fraud case.

Now coming to your angle that you might see some legal trouble brewing up in future, I would very strongly suggest you to take the advantage of a first strike. I would very strongly suggest you to consult a local attorney and have them serve a legal notice. Even if they do not exist on the address that you have them, the notice will not be served. Given this, you also have a further option to file a criminal case against them.

I would suggest you to do both. Report them to HMRC and also consult a local attorney who would help you initiate any action on them, beginning with a legal notice.

These are the only two recourses that you can take given the fact that VAT Office will only "vefity" information that you give, but will not shell out any information questioned by you.

I hope this helps..

You may leave a positive rating if this helps or revert back with a reply if you need further assistance. I would be more than happy to keep assisting you in this matter.

Warm Regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for taking the time to reply, I appreciate you taking the time to do that.


I do not feel I have learned anything new from the replies I have received here, over and above what I had already worked out/investigated for myself, hence the rating. The rating reflects this, as opposed to my belief in your general technical abilities.


I am pursuing an alternative avenue now, so am closing the enquiry.


Thanks again

Expert:  Rakhi Vasavada replied 3 years ago.
Dear Friend,

Hello and welcome again. Thanks for your reply.

I would look at it rather differently. Just because you already knew this, does not imply that you did not got the proper reply. Instead, you should view that is as the solution you already were aware of and the experts here confirmed that.

Sometimes it does happen that you know and you are well informed and possess above-average knowledge. It would then just get confirmed here by the experts.

So far as rating goes, we get compensated only if you rate us positively. Otherwise we do not get compensated even if you have been charged by this site.

I hope this helps...

Warm Regards
Expert:  Rakhi Vasavada replied 3 years ago.
Dear Friend,

Did I deserve this ?!

Anyways, let me opt out and see if other expert can assist you with this.

Warm Regards